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SEPTEMBER I, 1854- AUGUST 24, 1930 




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All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, must 
not be reproduced in any form without permission in 
writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who 
wishes to quote brief passages in a review of the book 

24th Edition 

Third printing, December, 1944 

Fourth printing, March, 1945 

Fifth printing, January, 1947 

Sixth printing, November, 1947 

Seventh printing, March, 1948 

Eighth printing, December, 1948 

Ninth printing, September, 1950 

Tenth printing, September, 1951 

Eleventh printing, February, 1952 

Twelfth printing, February, 1953 

Thirteenth printing, December, 1953 

Fourteenth printing, July, 1955 

Fifteenth printing, January, 1957 

Sixteenth printing, December, 1957 











0001 0006140 5 


The publication of the twenty-fourth 
edition of the Handbook of Nature-Study 
seemed an appropriate time to make cer- 
tain revisions which had become press- 
ingly necessary, to replace and improve 
the illustrations, and to incorporate sug- 
gestions which had been received from 
many interested friends. Accordingly, the 
entire text has been carefully scrutinized, 
and has been corrected or elaborated in 
the light of the most recent knowledge. 
Where the earlier treatment seemed in- 
adequate new material has been added, 
and Part IV in particular has been much 
expanded. New subjects, such as soil con- 
servation, have been introduced. We 
think it is safe to say that the Handbook 
has been well modernized. 

But by far the greater part of Mrs. 
ComstocFs work proved to be as accurate 
and timely in 1939 as in 1911, a striking 
tribute to the scientific genius of the 
author. In such cases the language of the 
earlier text has been preserved, for no 
improvement could be made on the 
charming style that has won friends in the 
tens of thousands. And a careful attempt 
has been made throughout to preserve the 
method of treatment adopted by Mrs. 
Comstock. Perhaps some justification of 
this policy is needed. Some readers of the 
Handbook have suggested that the new 
edition be oriented away from the nature- 
study approach, and be made instead to 
serve as an introduction to the natural 
sciences. For the convenience of readers 
who wish preparation for the academic 
studies, some scientific classifications and 
terminology have been introduced. But 
the nature-study approach has been pre- 
served. The kernel of that method of 
treatment is the study of the organism in 
its environment, its relation to the world 
about it, and the features which enable it 
to function in its surroundings. This study 

takes the individual organism, rather than 
an abstract phylum or genus, as the point 
of departure. Mrs. Comstock believed 
that the student found in such a study a 
fresh, spontaneous interest which was 
lacking in formal textbook science, and 
the phenomenal success of her work seems 
to prove that she was right. Moreover, 
nature-study as Mrs. Comstock conceived 
it was an aesthetic experience as well as a 
discipline. It was an opening of the eyes 
to the individuality, the ingenuity, the 
personality of each of the unnoticed life- 
forms about us. It meant a broadening of 
intellectual outlook, an expansion of 
sympathy, a fuller life. Much of this Mrs. 
Comstock succeeded in conveying into 
her work; and perhaps it is this inform- 
ing spirit that is the chief virtue of the 

But it should not be thought that 
nature-study is not a science. The promis- 
ing science of ecology is merely formalized 
nature-study; indeed it might be said that 
nature-study is natural science from an 
ecological rather than an anatomical point 
of view. The truth is that nature-study is 
a science, and is more than a science; it is 
not merely a study of life, but an experi- 
ence of life. One realizes, as he reads these 
pages, that with Mrs. Comstock it even 
contributed to a philosophy of life. 

Only the generous efforts of many 
specialists made possible the thorough- 
going revision of the book. Dr. Marjorie 
Ruth Ross assumed in large part the re- 
sponsibility for editorial supervision and 
co-ordination, and performed most of the 
labor of revision and replacement of il- 
lustrations. Professor A. H. Wright and 
Mrs. Wright made valuable suggestions 
and criticisms of the book in general, pro- 
vided hitherto unpublished photographs 
for the sections on reptiles and amphibi- 
ans, and read proof on those sections. 


Professor Glenn W. Herrick, Professor 
J. G. Needhanx and Dr. Grace H. Gris- 
wold made suggestions for the revision 
of the material on insects, and supplied 
illustrations for that section. Professor 
E. F. Phillips contributed criticism for the 
lesson on bees. Professor A. A. Allen 
kindly made suggestions and provided il- 
lustrations for the material on birds. Pro- 
fessor B. P. Young gave assistance in the 
treatment of aquatic life; Dr. W. J. Koster 
made suggestions for improving the sec- 
tion on fish; and Dr. Emmeline Moore 
selected photographs of fish, and on be- 
half of the New York State Department 
of Conservation gave permission to use 

Thanks are due to Professor W. J. 
Hamilton, Jr., for criticism of the section 
on mammals and for supplying several 
photographs; to Professor E. S. Harrison 
for aid in revising the lesson on cattle and 
supplying illustrations. Mrs. C. N. Stark 
made helpful suggestions for the revision 
of the lesson on bacteria. Miss Ethel Belk 
suggested many revisions in the part on 
plants. Professor W. C. Muenscher made 
useful criticisms of the section on weeds, 
and supplied illustrations. Professor C. H. 
Guise revised the portion dealing with 
the chestnut tree and Professor Ralph W. 
Curtis gave valuable assistance in the re- 
vision of the whole section on trees, and 
furnished pictures. Professor Joseph Os- 
kamp suggested several improvements in 


the text on the apple tree. Mr. William 
Marcus Ingram, Jr. prepared the captions 
for the illustrations of shells. 

Professor H. Ries made extensive re- 
visions and additions in the lessons relat- 
ing to geology. Professor H. O. Buckman 
revised the lesson on soil. Professor A. F. 
Gustafson revised the lesson on the 
brook, and added material on soil conser- 
vation. Professor S. L. Boothroyd not only 
revised the old text on the sky, but he also 
provided new material and supplied maps 
and photographs to illustrate it. Dr. H. O. 
Geren made valuable suggestions for the 
revision of the text on weather. Miss 
Theodosia Hadley supplied material for 
the new bibliography; Dr. Eva L. Gordon 
revised the bibliography, made numerous 
suggestions for revision of other parts of 
the text, and provided some of the illustra- 

Dr. F. D. Wormuth acted as literary 
editor of the manuscript. Dr. John M. 
Raines composed many of the captions 
for the new illustrations, and, with Mrs. 
Raines, read proof of the entire book. 

Many teachers throughout the country 
offered constructive criticisms; an attempt 
has been made to put them into effect. 
To all of these persons the publishers wish 
to express most cordial and sincere thanks. 

January i, 1939 


The Cornell University Nature-Study 
propaganda was essentially an agricultural 
movement in its inception and its aims; 
it was inaugurated as a direct aid to better 
methods of agriculture in New York 
State. During the years of agricultural de- 
pression 1891-1893, the Charities of New 
York City found it necessary to help many 
people who had come from the rural dis- 
tricts a condition hitherto unknown. 
The philanthropists managing the Associ- 
ation for Improving the Condition of the 
Poor asked, "What is the matter with 
the land of New York State that it can- 
not support its own population? " A con- 
ference was called to consider the situa- 
tion to which many people from different 
parts of the State were invited; among 
them was the author of this book, who 
little realized that in attending that meet- 
ing the whole trend of her activities would 
be thereby changed. Mr. George T. 
Powell, who had been a most efficient Di- 
rector of Farmers' Institutes of New York 
State, was invited to the conference as an 
expert to explain conditions and give ad- 
vice as to remedies. The situation seemed 
so serious that a Committee for the Pro- 
motion of Agriculture in New York State 
was appointed. Of this committee the 
Honorable Abram S. Hewitt was Chair- 
man, Mr. R. Fulton Cutting, Treasurer, 
Mr. Wm. H. Tolman, Secretary. The 
other members were Walter L. Suydam, 
Wm. E. Dodge, Jacob H. Schiff, George 
T. Powell, G. Howard Davidson, Howard 
Townsend, Professor I. P. Roberts, C. 
McNamee, Mrs. J. R. Lowell, and Mrs. 
A. B. Comstock. Mr. George T. Powell 
was made Director of the Department of 
Agricultural Education. 

At the first meeting of this committee 
Mr. Powell made a strong plea for inter- 
esting the children of the country in 
farming as a remedial measure, and main- 

tained that the first step to\vard agricul- 
ture was nature-study. It had been Mr. 
Powell's custom to give simple agricul- 
tural and nature-study instruction to the 
school children of every town where he 
was conducting a farmers' institute, and 
his opinion was, therefore, based upon 
experience. The committee desired to see 
for itself the value of this idea, and experi- 
mental work was suggested, using the 
schools of Westchester County as a labo- 
ratory. Mr. R. Fulton Cutting generously 
furnished the funds for this experiment, 
and work was done that year in the West- 
Chester schools which satisfied the com- 
mittee of the soundness of the project. 

The committee naturally concluded that 
such a fundamental movement must be a 
public rather than a private enterprise; 
and Mr. Frederick Nixon, then Chairman 
of the Ways and Means Committee of 
the Assembly, was invited to meet with 
the committee at Mr. Hewitt's home. Mr. 
Nixon had been from the beginning of his 
public career deeply interested in im- 
proving the farming conditions of the 
State. In 1894, it was through his influ- 
ence and the support given him by the 
Chautauqua Horticultural Society under 
the leadership of Mr. John W. Spencer, 
that an appropriation had been given to 
Cornell University for promoting the 
horticultural interests of the western 
counties of the State. In addition to other 
work done through this appropriation, 
horticultural schools were conducted un- 
der the direction of Professor L. H. Bailey 
with the aid of other Cornell instructors 
and especially of Mr. E. G. Lodeman; 
these schools had proved to be most use- 
ful and were well attended. Therefore, 
Mr. Nixon was open-minded toward an 
educational movement. He listened to the 
plan of the committee and after due con- 
sideration declared that if this new meas- 

lire would surely help the farmers of the 
State, the money would be forthcoming. 
The committee unanimously decided that 
if an appropriation were made for this 
purpose it should be given to the Cornell 
College of Agriculture; and that year eight 
thousand dollars were added to the Cor- 
nell University Fund, for Extension 
Teaching and inaugurating this work. The 
work was begun under Professor I. P. 
Roberts; after one year Professor Roberts 
placed it under the supervision of Profes- 
sor L. H. Bailey, who for the fifteen years 
since has been the inspiring leader of the 
movement as well as the official head. 

In 1896, Mr. John W. Spencer, a fruit 
grower in Chautauqua County, became 
identified with the enterprise; he had 
lived in rural communities and he knew 
their needs. He it was who first saw clearly 
that the first step in the great work was 
to help the teacher through simply 
written leaflets; and later he originated the 
great plan of organizing the children in 
the schools of the State into Junior Nat- 
uralists Clubs, which developed a remark- 
able phase of the movement. The mem- 
bers of these clubs paid their dues by 
writing letters about their nature observa- 
tions to Mr. Spencer, who speedily be- 
came their beloved "Uncle John"; a 
button and charter were given for con- 
tinued and earnest work. Some years, 
30,000 children were thus brought into 
direct communication with Cornell Uni- 
versity through Mr. Spencer. A monthly 
leaflet for Junior Naturalists followed; and 
it was to help in this enterprise that Miss 
Alice G. McCloskey, the able Editor of 
the present Rural School Leaflet, was 
brought into the work. Later, Mr. Spencer 
organized the children's garden move- 
ment by forming the children of the State 
into junior gardeners; at one time he had 
25,000 school pupils working in gardens 
and reporting to him. 

In 1899, Mrs. Maw Rogers Miller, who 
had proven a most efficient teacher when 
representing Cornell nature-study in the 
State Teachers* Institutes, planned and 
started the Home Nature-Study Course 
Leaflets for the purpose of helping the 


teachers by correspondence, a work which 
fell to the author in 1903 when Mrs. 
Miller was called to other fields. 

For the many years during which New 
York State has intrusted this important 
work to Cornell University, the teaching 
of nature-study has gone steadily on in the 
University, in teachers' institutes, in State 
summer schools, through various publica- 
tions and in correspondence courses. 
Many have assisted in this work, notably 
Dr. W. C. Thro, Dr. A. A. Allen, and 
Miss Ada Georgia. The New York Edu- 
cation Department with Charles R. Skin- 
ner as Commissioner of Education and 
Dr. Isaac Stout as the Director of Teach- 
ers 7 Institutes co-operated heartily with 
the movement from the first. Later with 
the co-operation of Dr. Andrew Draper, 
as Commissioner of Education, many of 
the Cornell leaflets have been written 
with the special purpose of aiding in 
carrying out the New York State Syllabus 
in Nature-Study and Agriculture. 

The leaflets upon which this volume is 
based were published in the Home Na- 
ture-Study Course during the years 1903- 
1911, in limited editions and were soon 
out of print. It is to make these lessons 
available to the general public that this 
volume has been compiled. While the 
subject matter of the lessons herein given 
is essentially the same as in the leaflets, 
the lessons have all been rewritten for the 
sake of consistency, and many new les- 
sons have been added to bridge gaps and 
make a coherent whole. 

Because the lessons were written dur- 
ing a period of so many years, each lesson 
has been prepared as if it were the only 
one, and without reference to others. If 
there is any uniformity of plan in the les- 
sons, it is due to the inherent qualities of 
the subjects, and not to a type plan in the 
mind of the writer; for, in her opinion, 
each subject should be treated individu- 
ally in nature-study; and in her long ex- 
perience as a nature-study teacher she has 
never been able to give a lesson twice alike 
on a certain topic or secure exactly the 
same results twice in succession. It should 
also be stated that it is not because the 

author undervalues physics nature-study 
that it has been left out of these lessons, 
but because her own work has been always 
along biological lines. 

The reason why nature-study has not 
yet accomplished its mission, as thought- 
core for much of the required work in our 
public schools, is that the teachers are as 
a whole untrained in the subject. The 
children are eager for it, unless it is spoiled 
in the teaching; and whenever we find a 
teacher with an understanding of out-of- 
door life and a love for it, there we find 
nature-study in the school is an inspira- 
tion and a joy to pupils and teacher. It is 
because of the author's sympathy with 
the untrained teacher and her full com- 
prehension of her difficulties and help- 
lessness that this book has been written. 
These difficulties are chiefly three-fold: 
The teacher does not know what there is 
to see in studying a planet or animal; she 
knows little of the literature that might 
help her; and because she knows so little 
of the subject, she has no interest in giving 
a lesson about it. As a matter of fact, the 
literature concerning our common ani- 
mals and plants is so scattered that a 
teacher would need a large library and al- 
most unlimited time to prepare lessons 
for an extended nature-study course. 

The writer's special work for fifteen 
years in Extension teaching has been the 
helping of the untrained teacher through 
personal instruction and through leaflets. 
Many methods were tried and finally 
there was evolved the method followed in 
this volume: All the facts available and 
pertinent concerning each topic have been 
assembled in the "Teacher's story" to 
make her acquainted with the subject; this 
is followed by an outline for observation 
on the part of the pupils while studying 
the object. It would seem that with the 
teacher's story before the eyes of the 
teacher, and the subject of the lesson be- 
fore the eyes of the pupils with a number 
of questions leading them to see the es- 
sential characteristics of the object, there 
should result a wider knowledge of nature 
than is given in this or any other book. 

That the lessons are given in a very in- 


formal manner, and that the style of writ- 
ing is often colloquial, results from the 
fact that the leaflets upon which the book 
is based were written for a correspondence 
course in which the communications were 
naturally informal and chatty. That the 
book is meant for those untrained in sci- 
ence accounts for the rather loose termi- 
nology employed; as, for instance, the use 
of the word seed in the popular sense 
whether it be a drupe, an akene, or other 
form of fruit; or the use of the word pod 
for almost any seed envelope, and many 
like instances. Also, it is very likely, that 
in teaching quite incidentally the rudi- 
ments of the principles of evolution, the 
results may often seem to be confused 
with an idea of purpose, which is quite 
unscientific. But let the critic labor for 
fifteen years to interest the untrained 
adult mind in nature's ways, before he 
casts any stones! And it should be always 
borne in mind that if the author has not 
dipped deep in the wells of science, she 
has used only a child's cup. 

For many years requests have been fre- 
quent from parents who have wished to 
give their children nature interests during 
vacations in the country. They have been 
borne in mind in planning this volume; 
the lessons are especially fitted for field 
work, even though schoolroom methods 
are so often suggested. 

The author feels apologetic that the 
book is so large. However, it does not 
contain more than any intelligent coun- 
try child of twelve should know of his 
environment; things that he should know 
naturally and without effort, although it 
might take him half his life-time to learn 
so much if he should not begin before 
the age of twenty. That there are incon- 
sistencies, inaccuracies, and even blunders 
in the volume is quite inevitable. The 
only excuse to be offered is that, if through 
its use, the children of our land learn early 
to read nature's truths with their own 
eyes, it will matter little to them what is 
written in books. 

The author wishes to make grateful ac- 
knowledgment to the following people: 
To Professor Wilford M. Wilson for his 


chapter on the weather; to Miss Man- E. 
Hill for the lessons on mould, bacteria, 
the minerals, and reading the weather 
maps; to Miss Catherine Straith for the 
lessons on the earthworm and the soil; to 
Miss Ada Georgia for much valuable as- 
sistance in preparing the original leaflets 
on which these lessons are based; to Dean 
L. H. Bailey and to Dr. David S. Jordan 
for permission to quote their writings; to 
Mr. John W. Spencer for the use of his 
story on the movements of the sun; to Dr. 
Grove Karl Gilbert Dr. A. C. Gill Dr. 
Benjamin Duggar, Professor S. H. Gage 
and Dr. J. G. Needham for reading and 
criticizing parts of the manuscript; to 
Miss Eliza Tonks for reading the proof; to 
the Director of the College of Agriculture 
for the use of the engravings made for the 
original leaflets; to Miss Martha Van 
Rensselaer for the use of many pictures 
from Boys and Girls; to Professor Cyrus 

Crosby, and to Messrs. J. T. Lloyd, A. A. 
Allen and R. Matheson for the use of 
their personal photographs; to the U. S. 
Geological Survey and the U. S. Forest 
Sendee for the use of photographs; to 
Louis A. Fuertes for drawings of birds; to 
Houghton Mifflin & Company for the use 
of the poems of Lowell, Harte and Lar- 
com, and various extracts from Burroughs 
and Thoreau; to Small, Maynard & Com- 
pany and to John Lane & Company for 
the use of poems of John T. Babb; to 
Doubleday, Page & Company for the use 
of pictures of birds and flowers; and to the 
American Book Company for the use of 
electrotypes of dragon-flies and astron- 
omy. Especially thanks are extended to 
Miss Anna C. Stryke for numerous draw- 
ings, including most of the initials. 

July, 1911 




What Nature-Study Is i 

What Nature-Study Should Do for 

the Child i 

Nature-Study as a Help to Health 2 
What Nature-Study Should Do for 

the Teacher 3 

When and Why the Teacher 

Should Say " I Do Not Know! " . 3 
Nature-Study, the Elixir of Youth 4 
Nature-Study as a Help in School 

Discipline 4 

Relation of Nature-Study to Sci- 
ence 5 

Nature-Study Not for Drill ... 6 
The Child Not Interested in Na- 
ture-Study 6 

When to Give the Lesson .... 6 

Length of the Lesson 6 

The Nature-Study Lesson Always 

New 7 

Nature-Study and Object Lessons . 7 
Nature-Study in the Schoolroom . 8 
Nature-Study and Museum Speci- 
mens 8 

Lens, Microscope and Field Glass as 
Helps 9 

Uses of Pictures, Charts, and Black- 
board Drawings 10 

Uses of Scientific Names .... 10 
The Stow as a Supplement to the 

Nature-Study Lesson 11 

The Nature-Study Attitude toward 

Life and Death 12 

Should the Nature-Study Teacher 
Teach How to Destroy Life? . . 13 

The Field Notebook / 13 

The Field Excursion 15 

Pets as Nature-Study Subjects . . 15 
Correlation of Nature-Study with 

Language Work 16 

Correlation of Nature-Study and 

Drawing 17 

Correlation of Nature-Study with 

Geography 18 

Correlation of Nature-Study with 

History 18 

Correlation of Nature-Study with 

Arithmetic 19 

Gardening and Nature-Study ... 20 
Nature-Study and Agriculture . . 21 

Nature-Study Clubs 22 

How to Use This Book 23 




Beginning Bird Study in the Pri- 
mary Grades 28 

Feathers as Clothing 29 

Feathers as Ornament 31 

How Birds Fly 33 

Migration of Birds 35 

Eyes and Ears of Birds 38 

Form and Use of Beaks .... 39 

Feet of Birds 

Songs of Birds , 

Attracting Birds 

Value of Birds 

Study of Birds' Nests in Winter 

Chicken Ways 


Canary and the Goldfinch . . 








\\Tiite-brcasted Nuthatch . . . 


Downy Woodpecker 


Redheaded Woodpecker . . . 
Flicker or Yellow-hammer . . . 


English Sparrow 

Chipping Sparrow 

Song Sparrow ........ 



Belted Kingfisher 

Screech Owl 


Birds of Prey and Scavengers . . 
Swallows and the Chimney Swift 


Red-winged Blackbird .... 

Baltimore Oriole 


Cardinal Grosbeak 


Wild Geese 

Game Birds 


Birds of Marsh and Shore . . . 


Goldfish . . . 
Bullhead . . . 
Common Sucker 
Shiner .... 
Brook Trout . . 
Stickleback . . 
Sunfish .... 
Johnny Darter . 


Tailless Amphibians 

Common Toad 

Tadpole Aquarium 

Spring Peeper or Pickering's 



Tailed Amphibians 

Newt or Eft 


Garter or Garden Snake .... 
Milk Snake or Spotted Adder . . 
Water Snake 



7 6 



















Other Snakes 200 

Turtles 204 

Lizards 210 


Cotton-tail Rabbit 215 

Muskrat 219 

House Mouse 224 

Woodchuck 229 

Red Squirrel or Chickaree ... 233 

Furry 237 

Chipmunk 239 

Little Brown Bat 241 

Skunk 245 

Raccoon 247 

Wolf 250 

Fox 251 

Dogs 254 

Cat 260 

Goat 266 

Sheep 270 

Horse 274 

Cattle 280 

Pig 286 

Animals of Zoos and Parks . . . 290 


Life History and Structure of In- 
sects 294 


Black Swallowtail Butterfly . . 301 

Monarch Butterfly 305 

Isabella Tiger Moth or Woolly 

Bear 310 

Cecropia 313 

Promethea 317 

Cynthia 319 

Hummingbird or Sphinx Moths 320 

Codling Moth 325 

Leaf-miners 329 

Leaf-rollers 332 

Gall Dwellers 335 

Grasshopper 338 

Katydid 343 

Black Cricket 344 

Snowy Tree Cricket 348 

Cockroach 350 

Aphids or Plant Lice 351 

Ant Lion 354 

Mother Lacewing and the Aphis 

Lion 356 


Housefly 358 

Colorado Potato Beetle , . . . 362 

Ladybird 364 

Firefly 367 

Ways of the Ant 369 

How to Make a Lubbock Ant- 
nest 373 

The Ant-nest and What May Be 

Seen within It 374 

Mud-dauber 378 

Yellow Jacket 380 

Leaf-cutter Bee 384 

Little Carpenter Bee 386 

Bumblebee 389 

Honeybee 391 

Honeycomb . . . 395 

Industries of the Hive and the 

Observation Hive 396 

How to Make an Aquarium for 

Insects 400 

Dragonflies and Damsel Flies . . 401 

Other Aquatic Insects 402 

Caddis Worms and the Caddis 








Garden Snail 416 

Shells of Florida and the East 

Coast 418 

Earthworm 422 

Crayfish 425 

Seashore Creatures 430 

Daddy Longlegs or Grandfather 

Greybeard 432 

Spiders 435 

Cobwebs 436 

Funnel Web of a Grass Spider . 438 

Orb Web 439 

Filmy Dome 443 

Ballooning Spiders 444 

White Crab Spider 445 

How r the Spider Mothers Take 

Care of Their Eggs 446 

Other Invertebrates 448 


How to Begin the Study of Plants 

and Their Flowers 453 

Some Needs of Plants 454 

How to Teach the Names of the 

Parts of a Flower and of the Plant 456 

Teach the Use of the Flower ... 457 

Flower and Insect Partners .... 457 

Relation of Plants to Geography . 458 

Seed Germination 458 


Hepatica 461 

Yellow Adder 7 s-Tongue .... 463 

Bloodroot 466 

Trillium 4 68 

DutchrnanVBreeches and Squir- 
rel Com 47 1 

Jack-in-the-Pulpit 473 

Violet 47 6 

May Apple or Mandrake .... 479 

Bluets 4 8 3 

Yellow Lady's-Slipper 484 

Evening Primrose 488 

Milkweed 491 

White Water Lily 495 

Pondweed 498 

Cattail 500 

Type Lesson for a Composite 

Flower 503 

Goldenrod 503 

Asters 506 

The Jewelweed or Touch-me- 
not 508 

WEEDS 512 

Outline for the Study of a Weed 513 

Poison Ivy 5*4 

Prevention of Ivy Poisoning . . 514 
Curative Treatment for Ivy Poi- 
soning 514 

Common or Field Buttercup . . 516 

Hedge Bindweed 518 




\\Tiite Daisy 

Yellow Daisy or Black-eyed Susan 

Thistle . .' " . . . . 


Prickly Lettuce, a Compass 



Pearly Everlasting 



Queen Anne's Lace or Wild Car- 



5 2 9 





Crocus 547 

Daffodils and Their Relatives . 549 

Tulip 552 

Pansy 555 

Bleeding Heart 558 

Poppies 560 

California Poppy 563 

Nasturtium 566 

Bee-Larkspur 568 

Blue Flag or Iris 571 

Sunflower 574 

Bachelors-Button 578 

Salvia or Scarlet Sage 579 

Petunias 581 

Garden or Horseshoe Geranium 585 

Sweet Pea 588 


Clovers 591 

Sweet Clover 594 

White Clover 596 

Maize or Indian Corn .... 598 

Cotton Plant 604 

Strawberry 608 

Pumpkin 611 

TREES 618 

Parts of the Tree 618 

The Way a Tree Grows .... 620 

How to Begin Tree Study . . . 622 

How to Make Leaf Prints . . . 626 

Maples 628 

American Elm 634 

Oaks 638 

Shagbark Hickory 643 

Chestnut 645 

Horse Chestnut 648 

Willows 651 

Cottonwood or Carolina Poplar . 655 

White Ash 658 

Apple Tree 661 

How an Apple Grows 665 

The Apple 667 

Pines 670 

Norway Spruce 675 

Hemlock 679 

Dogwood 680 

Velvet or Staghorn Sumac ... 683 

Witch Hazel 686 

Mountain Laurel 689 


Christmas Fern 693 

Bracken 696 

How a Fern Bud Unfolds ... 698 

Fruiting of the Fern 699 

Other Ferns 704 

Field Horsetail 706 

Hair-cap Moss or Pigeon Wheat 709 

Other Mosses and Hepatics . . 712 

Mushrooms and Other Fungi . . 714 
How Mushrooms Look and How 

They Live 716 

Puffballs 720 

Bracket Fungi 721 

Hedgehog Fungi 725 

Scarlet Saucer 725 

Morels 726 

Stinkhorns 727 

Molds 727 

Bacteria 729 



Life in the Brook 739 

How a Brook Drops Its Load . 740 


Rocks 744 

Sedimentary Rocks 745 


Igneous Rocks 

Metamorphic Rocks .... 
Calcite, Limestone, and Mar- 


Crystal Growth 







Soil Material 

Soil Formation 

Kinds of Soil 

Soil Experiments 

How Valuable Soil Is Lost . 
Soil Erosion, an Old Problem 
How to Conserve Our Soil . 



Tower of the Winds 



Air as a Gas 

Composition of Air 

Pressure of Atmosphere .... 

The Barometer 

Height of the Atmosphere . . . 

Temperature of the Atmosphere 

Thermometer Scales in Use . . 

Distribution of Temperature and 

Winds of the World 


Weather Maps 

The Principles of Weather Fore- 

Forecasts Based on Weather 

Maps, Where Published and 
How Obtained 




75 1 












Value of Weather Sendee . . . 
How to Read Weather Maps . . 

Highs and Lows 

Observations Concerning the 


Weather Proverbs 








The Story of the Stars 

How to Begin Star Study .... 
Circumpolar Constellations . . 
The Polestar and the Dippers . . 
Cassiopeia's Chair, Cepheus, and 

the Dragon 

Winter Stars 


Aldebaran and the Pleiades . 
The Two Dog Stars, Sirius and 


Capella and the Heavenly Twins 

Stars of Summer 



The Crown 




Deneb or Arided 


The Sun 

Comets and Meteors 

Shooting Stars 

The Relation between the Tropic 

of Cancer and the Planting of 

the Garden 

The Ecliptic and the Zodiac . . 

The Sky Clock 

Equatorial Star Finder 

The Relations of the Sun to the 


How to Make a Sundial .... 
The Moon 











General Information and Stories 863 
Essays and Travel 866 


History and Biography 
Textbooks and Readers 




Books for Parents and Teachers 874 

Magazines and Periodicals . . . 875 


Animals in General 877 

Mammals 880 

Birds 884 

Reptiles, Amphibians, and Fish 888 

Insects and Other Invertebrates 890 


Plants in General 895 

Wild Flowers and Weeds . . . 897 

Flowerless Plants 898 

Garden Flowers and Cultivated 

Crop Plants 899 

Trees 7 Shrubs, and Woody Vines 901 


The Earth and Its Life .... 904 

Weather and Climate 906 

Stars and Sky 907 



INDEX 911 


Sparrow Hawks Snowy Owl 
Screech Owl Herring Gull 
Black Vulture Audubon's Ca- 


Ring-necked Pheasants Wild 
Turkey Ruffed Grouse ? Nest of 
Eastern Bobwhite or Quail 
Dusky Grouse Woodcock on 


Shoveller Mallard Lesser 
Scaup Ducks Pied-billed Grebe 
Spotted Sandpiper Wilson's 
Plover King Rail Common 
Tern American Egret Ameri- 
can Bittern 


American Bell Toad Oak Toad 

Narrow Mouth Toad Can- 
yon or Spotted Toad Great 
Plains Toad Spadefoot Toad 

Hammond's Spadefoot 
Canadian or Winnipeg Toad 
Yosemite Toad 


Spotted Salamander Red Sala- 
mander Marbled Salamander 

Mud Puppy Tiger Salaman- 
der Slimy Salamander Slen- 
der Salamander Cave Salaman- 


Ribbon Snake Coral Snake 
Rubber Boa Rough Green 
Snake Timber Rattlesnake 
Desert Gopher Snake or Bull 
Snake Ring-necked Snake 

Sidewinder or Horned Rattle- 


Pike-headed Tree Snake or Ari- 
zona Long-headed Snake Pilot 
Black Snake Copperhead 
Boyle's King Snake or Boyle's 
Milk Snake Gray Pilot Snake 

Water Moccasin or Cotton- 
mouth California Lyre Snake 

Southern Hognose Snake 


Banded Gecko Chameleon 
Fence Lizard Glass Snake or 
Legless Lizard Alligator Liz- 
ard or Plated Lizard Sonoran 
Skink Gila Monster 


Regal Horned Toad Horned 
Toad Male Fence Lizard 
Mountain Boomer or Collared 
Lizard Whip-tail or Race Run- 
ner Chuck-walla 

ANIMALS OF Zoos AND PARKS . . . 291 
Rhinoceros Hippopotamus 
Kangaroo Zebra Malay Tiger 

Polar Bear Nubian Gi- 
raffe Bactrian or Two-humped 
Camel Wapiti or American 
Elk " - Virginia or White- 
tailed Deer 


"Stone Fly May Fly Back 
Swimmer Water Boatman 
Water Walking Stick Water 
Scorpion Water Bug Giant 
Water Bug or Electric-Light Bug 

Water Strider Dobson 
Predacious Diving Beetle Div- 
ing Beetle Water Scavenger 



Beetle Whirligig Beetle - Wa- 
ter Penny or Riffle Beetle 
Black Fly Crane Fly Drone 


COAST 419 

Crown Melongena Brown- 
mouth Cymatium White- 
mouth Cymatium Lined Mu- 
rex Mossy Ark Black Lace 
Murex Apple Murex 
White-spike Murex Moon 
Shell - Rock Worm Shell - 
Mouse Cone Florida Cone 
Giant Band Shell - Lettered 
Olive Netted Olive Mottled 
Top Shell Ridged Chione 
Beaming Scallop - Vase Shell 
Ponderous Ark Spiny Pearl 
Shell Little Red Murex 
Rose Euglandina Calico Scal- 
lop Volcano Shell 


Sea Urchin Fiddler Crab 
Common Starfish Egg Cases 
or Fisherman's Purses Notch- 
side Shell Sand Dollar Giant 
Whelk Great Ark Shell - 
Star Coral Sand Crab Jelly- 


Water Spider House Centi- 
pede Scorpion Millipede 

Water Sow Bug Fairy 
Shrimps Tadpole Shrimp 
Dog Louse Scud Water 
Flea Pleurocera Copepod 
Fresh-water Limpet Gonioba- 
sis Vivipara Wheel Snails 
Campeloma Valvata By- 
thinia Amnicola - Paludes- 
trina Common Pond Snail 
Pouch Snail - Fingernail Clam 
-Paper-shell Mussel 

FERNS 705 

Purple Cliff Brake Climbing 
Fern Grape Fern Hart's- 
Tongue Hay-scented Fern 

Maidenhair Fern Inter- 
rupted Fern Walking Leaf 
Fern Cinnamon Fern Royal 
or Flowering Fern 


Broom Moss Common Hair- 
Cap, Bird Wheat, or Pigeon 
Wheat Moss Common Fern 
Moss Awned Hair-Cap Moss 

Plume Moss Purple-fringed 
Riccia True Liverwort 


Hypohippus Brachiopods 
Crane Fly - Trilobites Cy- 
cads Crinoid or Sea Lily 
Brachiopod Dinosaur Tracks 




Nature-study is, despite all discussions 
and perversions, a study of nature; it con- 
sists of simple, truthful observations that 
may ? like beads on a string, finally be 
threaded upon the understanding and 
thus held together as a logical and har- 
monious whole. Therefore, the object of 
the nature-study teacher should be to cul- 
tivate in the children powers of accurate 
observation and to build up within them 


First, but not most important, nature- 
study gives the child practical and help- 
ful knowledge. It makes him familiar with 

Ralph W. Curtis 

nature's ways and forces, so that he is not 
so helpless in the presence of natural mis- 
fortune and disasters. 

Nature-study cultivates the child's im- 
agination, since there are so many wonder- 
ful and true stories that he may read with 
his own eyes, which affect his imagination 
as much as does fairy lore; at the same 
time nature-study cultivates in him a per- 
ception and a regard for what is true, and 
the power to express it. All things seem 
possible in nature; yet this seeming is 
always guarded by the eager quest of what 
is true. Perhaps half the falsehood in the 
world is due to lack of power to detect 
the truth and to express it. Nature-study 
aids both in discernment and in expression 
of things as they are. 

Nature-study cultivates in the child a 


love of the beautiful; it brings to him early 
a perception of color, form, and music. He 
sees whatever there is in his environment, 
whether it be the thunder-head piled up 
in the western sky, or the golden flash of 
the oriole in the elm; whether it be the 
purple of the shadows on the snow, or 
the azure glint on the wing of the little 
butterfly. Also, what there is of sound, he 

Louis Agassiz Fuertes Council, Boy Scouts of America 

A nature hike 

hears; he reads the music score of the bird 
orchestra, separating each part and know- 
ing which bird sings it. And the patter of 
the rain, the gurgle of the brook, the sigh- 
ing of the wind in the pine, he notes and 
loves and becomes enriched thereby. 

But, more than all, nature-study gives 
the child a sense of companionship with 
life out-of-doors and an abiding love of 
nature. Let this latter be the teacher's 
criterion for judging his or her work. If 
nature-study as taught does not make the 
child love nature and the out-of-doors, 
then it should cease. Let us not inflict 
permanent injury on the child by turning 
him away from nature instead of toward 
it. However, if the love of nature is in the 
teacher's heart, there is no danger; such 

a teacher, no matter by what method, 
takes the child gently by the hand and 
walks with him in paths that lead to the 
seeing and comprehending of what he 
may find beneath his feet or above his 
head. And these paths, whether they lead 
among the lowliest plants, or whether to 
the stars, finally converge and bring the 
wanderer to that serene peace and hope- 
ful faith that is the sure inheritance of all 
those who realize fully that they are work- 
ing units of this wonderful universe. 


Perhaps the most valuable practical les- 
son the child gets from nature-study is a 
personal knowledge that nature's laws are 
not to be evaded. Wherever he looks, he 
discovers that attempts at such evasion 
result in suffering and death. A knowledge 
thus naturally attained of the immuta- 
bility of nature's " must " and " shall not " 
is in itself a moral education. The realiza- 
tion that the fool as well as the transgres- 
sor fares ill in breaking natural laws makes 
for wisdom in morals as well as in hygiene. 

Out-of-door life takes the child afield 
and keeps him in the open air, which not 
only helps him physically and occupies 
his mind with sane subjects, but keeps 
him out of mischief. It is not only during 
childhood that this is true, for love of 
nature counts much for sanity in later life. 
This is an age of nerve tension, and the 
relaxation which comes from the comfort- 
ing companionship found in woods and 
fields is, without doubt, the best remedy 
for this condition. Too many men who 
seek the out-of-doors for rest at the present 
time, can only find it with a gun in hand. 
To rest and heal their nerves they must 
go out and try to kill some unfortunate 
creature the old, old story of sacrificial 
blood. Far better will it be when, through 
properly training the child, the man shall 
be enabled to enjoy nature through seeing 
how creatures live rather than watching 
them die. It is the sacred privilege of 
nature-study to do this for future genera- 
tions and for him thus trained, shall the 
words of Longfellow's poem to Agassiz 


And he wandered away and away, with 

Nature the dear old nurse, 
Who sang to him night and day, the 

rhymes of the universe. 
And when the way seemed long, and his 

heart began to fail, 
She sang a more wonderful song, or told 

a more wonderful tale. 


During many years, I have been watch- 
ing teachers in our public schools in their 
conscientious and ceaseless work; and so 
far as I can foretell, the fate that awaits 
them finally is either nerve exhaustion or 
nerve atrophy. The teacher must become 
either a neurasthenic or a " clam." 

I have had conversations with hundreds 
of teachers in the public schools of New 
York State concerning the introduction 
of nature-study into the curriculum, and 
most of them declared, " Oh, we have not 
time for it. Every moment is full now! " 
Their nerves were at such a tension that 
with one more thing to do they must fall 
apart. The question in my own mind dur- 
ing these conversations was always, how 
long can she stand it! I asked some of 
them, " Did you ever try a vigorous walk 
in the open air in the open country every 
Saturday or every Sunday of your teach- 
ing year? " " Oh no! " they exclaimed in 
despair of making me understand. " On 
Sunday we must go to church or see our 
friends and on Saturday we must do our 
shopping or our sewing. We must go to 
the dressmaker's lest we go unclad, we 
must mend, and darn stockings; we need 
Saturday to catch up." 

Yes, catch up with more cares, more 
worries, more fatigue, but not with more 
growth, more strength, more vigor, and 
more courage for work. In my belief, there 
are two and only two occupations for Sat- 
urday afternoon or forenoon for a teacher. 
One is to be out-of-doors and the other 
is to lie in. bed, and the first is best. 
Out in this, God's beautiful world, there 
is everything waiting to heal lacerated 
nerves, to strengthen tired muscles, to 
please and content the soul that is torn 

to shreds with duty and care. To the 
teacher who turns to nature's healing, na- 
ture-study in the schoolroom is not a trou- 
ble; it is a sweet, fresh breath of air blown 
across the heat of radiators and the noi- 
some odor of overcrowded small human- 
it}'. She who opens her eyes and her heart 
nature-ward even once a week finds na- 
ture-study in the schoolroom a delight and 
an abiding joy. What does such a one 
find in her schoolroom instead of the ter- 
rors of discipline, the eternal watching and 
eternal nagging to keep the pupils quiet 
and at work? She finds, first of all, com- 
panionship with her children; and second, 
she finds that without planning or going 
on a far voyage, she has found health and 


No science professor in any university, 
if he be a man of high attainment, hesi- 
tates to say to his pupils, " I do not know/' 
if they ask for information beyond his 
knowledge. The greater his scientific rep- 
utation and erudition, the more readily, 
simply, and without apology he says this. 
He, better than others, comprehends how 
vast is the region that lies beyond man's 
present knowledge. It is only "the teacher 
in the elementary schools who has never 
received enough scientific training to re- 
veal to her how little she does know, who 
feels that she must appear to know every- 
thing or her pupils will lose confidence 
in her. But how useless is this pretense, in 
nature-study! The pupils, whose younger 
eyes are much keener for details than hers, 
will soon discover her limitations and then 
their distrust of her will be real. 

In nature-study any teacher can with 
honor say, " I do not know "; for perhaps 
the question asked is as yet unanswered 
by the great scientists. But she should not 
let lack of knowledge be a wet blanket 
thrown over her pupils' interest. She 
should say frankly, " I do not know; let 
us see if we cannot together find out this 
mysterious thing. Maybe no one knows it 
as yet, and I wonder if you will discover 
it before I do/ 7 She thus conveys the right 


she is never allowed to forget that she 
knows them, and finally her interests be- 
come limited to what she knows. 
pupils feel the thrill and zest of in- After all what is the chief sign of 

r __ x- :n <,i^w* fk/^r r^crv-H- growing old? Is it not me reeling mat 

we know all there is to be known? It is 

impression, that only a little about the in- 
tricate life of plants and animals is yet 
known; and at the same time she makes 

vestigation. Nor will she lose their respect 

bv doing this, if she does it in the right . 

soirit For three rears I had for com- not years which make people old; it is 
rades'in my walks afield two little chil- +* - A "*** "* ^"* W1 '' 
dren and they kept me busy saying, " I 
do not know." But they never lost confi- 
dence in me or in my knowledge; they 

Leonard "K. Beyer 

Long -spurred violet 

simply gained respect for the vastness 
of the unknown. 

The chief charm of nature-study would 
be taken away if it did not lead us through 
the border-land of knowledge into the 
realm of the undiscovered. Moreover, the 
teacher,, in confessing her ignorance and 
at the same time her interest in a sub- 
ject, establishes between herself and her 
pupils a sense of companionship which re- 
lieves the strain of discipline, and gives 
her a new and intimate relation with her 
pupils which will surely prove a potent 
element in her success. The best teacher 
is always one who is the good comrade of 
her pupils. 

The old teacher is too likely to be- 
come didactic, dogmatic, and " bossy ?> if 
she does not constantly strive with her- 
self. Why? She has to be thus five days in 
the week and, therefore, she is likely to 
be so seven. She knows arithmetic, gram- 
mar, and geography to their uttermost, 

ruts, and a limitation of interests. When 
w r e no longer care about anything except 
our own interests, we are then olcl ? it 
matters not whether our years be twenty 
or eighty. It is rejuvenation for the 
teacher, thus growing old, to stand ig- 
norant as a child in the presence of one 
of the simplest of nature's miracles 
the formation of a crystal, the evolution 
of the butterfly from the caterpillar, the 
exquisite adjustment of the silken lines 
in the spider's orb web. I know how to 
"make magic" for the teacher who is 
growing old. Let her go out with her 
youngest pupil and reverently watch with 
him the miracle of the blossoming violet 
and say: "Dear Nature, I know naught 
of the wondrous life of these, your small- 
est creatures. Teach me! " and she will 
suddenly find herself young. 


Much of the naughtiness in school is 
a result of the child's lack of interest in 
his work, augmented by the physical in- 
action that results from an attempt to sit 
quietly. The best teachers try to obviate 
both of these causes of misbehaviour 
rather than to punish the naughtiness that 
results from them. Nature-study is an aid 
in both respects, since it keeps the child 
interested and also gives him something 
to do. 

In the nearest approach to an ideal 
school that I have ever seen, for children 
of second grade, the pupils were allowed, 
as a reward of merit, to visit the aquaria 
or the terrarium for periods of five min- 
utes, which time was given to the blissful 
observation of the fascinating prisoners. 
The teacher also allowed the reading of 
stories about the plants and animals un- 
der observation to be regarded as a re- 
ward of merit. As I entered the school- 


room, eight or ten of the children were 
at the windows watching eagerly what 
was happening to the creatures confined 
there in the various cages. There was a 
mud aquarium for the frogs and sala- 
manders, an aquarium for fish, many 
small aquaria for insects, and each had 
one or two absorbedly interested specta- 
tors who were quiet, well-behaved, and 
were getting their nature-study lessons 
in an ideal manner. The teacher told me 
that the problem of discipline was solved 
by this method, and that she was rarely 
obliged to rebuke or punish. In many 
other schools, watching the living crea- 
tures in the aquaria or terraria has been 
used as a reward for other work well done. 


Nature-study is not elementary science 
as so taught, because its point of attack 
is not the same; error in this respect has 
caused many a teacher to abandon nature- 
study and many a pupil to hate it. In 
elementary science the work begins with 
the simplest animals and plants and pro- 
gresses logically through to the highest 
forms; at least this is the method pursued 
in most universities and schools. The ob- 
ject of the study is to give the pupils an 
outlook over all the forms of life and their 
relation one to another. In nature-study 
the w 7 ork begins with any plant or crea- 
ture which chances to interest the pupil. 
It begins with the robin when it comes 
back to us in March, promising spring; 
or it begins with the maple leaf which 
flutters to the ground in all the beauty of 
its autumnal tints. A course in biological 
science leads to the comprehension of 
all kinds of life upon our globe. Nature- 
study is for the comprehension of the 
individual life of the bird, insect, or plant 
that is nearest at hand. 

Nature-study is perfectly good science 
within its limits, but it is not meant to 
be more profound or comprehensive than 
the capabilities of the child's mind. More 
than all, nature-study is not science be- 
littled as if it were to be looked at through 
the reversed opera glass in order to bring 

it down small enough for the child to 
play with. Nature-study, as far as it goes, 
is just as large as is science for " grown- 
ups. 77 It may deal with the same subject 
matter and should be characterized by 
the same accuracy. It simply does not go 
so far. 

To illustrate: If we are teaching the 
science of ornithology, we take first the 
Archaeopteryx, then the swimming and 
scratching birds, and finally reach the song 
birds, studying each as a part of the 
whole. Nature-study begins with the robin 
because the child sees it and is interested 
in it, and notes the things about the 
habits and appearance of the robin that 
may be perceived by intimate observa- 

An aquarium 

Hugh Spencer 

tion. In fact, he discovers for himself all 
that the most advanced book of ornithol- 
ogy would give concerning the ordinary 
habits of this one bird; the next bird 
studied may be the turkey in the barn- 
yard, or the duck on the pond, or the 
screech owl in the spruces, if any of these 
happen to impinge upon his notice and 
interest. However, such nature-study 
makes for the best of scientific ornithol- 
ogy 7 , because by studying the individual 
birds thus thoroughly, the pupil finally 
studies a sufficient number of forms so 
that his knowledge, thus assembled, gives 
him a better comprehension of birds as 
a whole than could be obtained by the 
routine study of them. Nature-study 
does not start out with the classification 
given in books, but in the end it builds 
up in the child's mind a classification 
which is based on fundamental knowl- 


edge; it is a classification like that evolved 
by the first naturalists, because it is built 
on careful personal observations of both 
form and life. 

If nature-study is made a drill, its peda- 
gogic value is lost. When it is properly 
taught, the child is unconscious of mental 
effort or that he is suffering the act of 
teaching. As soon as nature-study be- 
comes a task, it should be dropped; but 
how could it ever be a task to see that 
the sky is blue, or the dandelion golden, 
or to listen to the oriole in the elm! 

Stanley Mulaik 

A young entomologist 


What to do with the pupil not inter- 
ested in nature-study subjects is a prob- 
lem that confronts many earnest teachers. 
Usually the reason for this lack of inter- 
est is the limited range of subjects used 
for nature-study lessons. Often the teacher 
insists upon flowers as the lesson subject, 
when toads or snakes would prove the key 
to the door of the child's interest. But 
whatever the cause may be, there is only 
one right way out of this difficulty: The 
child not interested should be kept at 
his regular school work and not admitted 
as a member of the nature-study class, 
where his influence is always demoraliz- 

ing. He had much better be learning his 
spelling lesson than learning to hate na- 
ture through being obliged to study sub- 
jects in which he is not interested. In 
general, it is safe to assume that the pu- 
pil's lack of interest in nature-study is 
owing to a fault in the teacher's method. 
She may be trying to fill the child's mind 
with facts when she should be leading 
him to observe these for himself, which 
is a most entertaining occupation for the 
child. It should always be borne in mind 
that mere curiosity is always impertinent, 
and that it is never more so than when 
exercised in the realm of nature. A genu- 
ine interest should be the basis of the 
study of the lives of plants and lower 
animals. Curiosity may elicit facts, but 
only real interest may mold these facts 
into wisdom. 


There are two theories concerning the 
time when a nature-study lesson should 
be given. Some teachers believe that it 
should be a part of the regular routine; 
others have found it of greatest value if 
reserved for that period of the school 
day when the pupils are weary and rest- 
less, and the teacher's nerves strained to 
the snapping point. The lesson on a tree, 
insect, or flower at such a moment affords 
immediate relief to everyone; it is a men- 
tal excursion, from which all return re- 
freshed and ready to finish the duties of 
the day. 

While I am convinced that the use of 
the nature-study lesson for mental re- 
freshment makes it of greatest value, yet 
I realize fully that if it is relegated to 
such periods, it may not be given at all. 
It might be better to give it a regular 
period late in the day, for there is strength 
and sureness in regularity. The teacher 
is much more likely to prepare herself for 
the lesson, if she knows that it is required 
at a certain time. 


The nature-study lesson should be 
short and sharp and may vary from ten 
minutes to a half hour in length. There 


should be no dawdling; if it is an observa- 
tion lesson, only a few points should be 
noted and the meaning for the observa- 
tions made clear. If an outline be sug- 
gested for field observation, it should be 
given in an inspiring manner which shall 
make each pupil anxious to see and read 
the truth for himself. The nature story 
when properly read is never finished; it 
is always at an interesting point, " con- 
tinued in our next/' 

The teacher may judge as to her own 
progress in nature-study by the length 
of time she is glad to spend in reading 
from nature's book what is therein writ- 
ten. As she progresses, she finds those 
hours spent in studying nature speed 
faster, until a day thus spent seems but 
an hour. The author can think of nothing 
she would so gladly do as to spend days 
and months with the birds, bees, and flow- 
ers with no obligation to tell what she 
should see. There is more than mere in- 
formation in hours thus spent. Lowell 
describes them well when he says: 

Those old days when the balancing of a 
yellow butterfly o'er a thistle bloom 

Was spiritual food and lodging for the 
whole afternoon. 



A nature-study lesson should not be 
repeated unless the pupils demand it. It 
should be done so well the first time that 
there is no need of repetition, because it 
has thus become a part of the child's con- 
sciousness. The repetition of the same les- 
son in different grades was, to begin with, 
a hopeless incubus upon nature-study. 
One disgusted boy declared, " Darn ger- 
mination! I had it in the primary and last 
year and now I am having it again. I 
know all about germination." The boy's 
attitude was a just one; but if there had 
been revealed to him the meaning of 
germination, instead of the mere process, 
he would have realized that until he had 
planted and observed every plant in the 
world he would not know all about ger- 
mination, because each seedling has its 

own interesting story. The only excuse 
for repeating a nature-study lesson is in 
recalling it for comparison and contrast 
with other lessons. The study of the violet 
will naturally bring about a review of the 
pansy; the dandelion, of the sunflower; 
the horse, of the donkey; the butterfly, of 
the moth. 


The object lesson method was intro- 
duced to drill the child to see a thing 
accurately, not only as a whole but in de- 
tail, and to describe accurately what he 
saw. A book or a vase or some other ob- 
ject was held up before the class for a 

Leonard K. Beyer 

A mountain brook 

moment and then removed; afterwards 
the pupils described it as perfectly as pos- 
sible. This is an excellent exercise and the 
children usually enjoy it as if it were a 
game. But if the teacher has in mind the 
same thought when she is giving the na- 
ture-study lesson, she has little compre- 
hension of the meaning of the latter and 
the pupils will have less. In nature-study, 
it is not desirable that the child see all 
the details, but rather those details that 
have something to do with the life of the 
creature studied; if he sees that the grass- 
hopper has the hind legs much longer 
than the others, he will inevitably note 
that there are two other pairs of legs and he 


will in the meantime have come into an il- 
luminating comprehension of the reason 
the insect is called "grasshopper." The 
child should see definitely and accurately 
all that is necessary for the recognition 
of a plant or animal; but in nature-study, 
the observation of form is for the purpose 
of better understanding life. In fact, it is 
form linked with life, the relation of *' be- 
ing " to " doing." 

Many subjects for nature-study lessons 
may be brought into the schoolroom. 
Whenever it is possible, the pupils should 
themselves bring the material, as the col- 
lecting of it is an important part of the 


A. I. Root Co. 

An observation beehive 

lesson. There should be in the school- 
room conveniences for caring for the little 
prisoners brought in from the field. A 
terrarium and breeding cages of different 
kinds should be provided for the insects, 
toads, and little mammals. Here they may 
live in comfort, when given their natural 
food, while the children observe their 
interesting ways. The ants' nest and the 
observation hive yield fascinating views 
of the marvelous lives of the insect so- 
cialists, while the cheerful prisoner in the 
bird cage may be made a constant illus- 
tration of the adaptations and habits of 
all birds. The aquaria for fishes, tadpoles, 
and insects afford the opportunity for con- 
tinuous study of these water creatures and 
are a never-failing source of interest to the 
pupils, while the window garden may be 
made not only an ornament and an aes- 

thetic delight, but a basis for interesting 
study of plant growth and development. 
A schoolroom thus equipped is a place 
of delight as well as enlightenment to 
the children. Once, a boy whose luxurious 
home was filled with all that money could 
buy and educated tastes select, said of a 
little nature-study laboratory which was 
in the unfinished attic of a school build- 
ing, but which was teeming with life, " I 
think this is the most beautiful room in 
the world." 


The matter of museum specimens is 
another question for the nature-study 
teacher to solve, and has a direct bearing 
on an attitude toward taking life. There 
are many who believe the stuffed bird or 
the case of pinned insects have no place 
in nature-study; and certainly these 
should not be the chief material. But 
let us use our common sense; the boy 
sees a bird in the woods or field and does 
not know its name; he seeks the bird in 
the museum and thus is able to place it 
and read about it and is stimulated to 
make other observations concerning it. 
Wherever the museum is a help to the 
study of life in the field, it is well and 
good. Some teachers may give a live les- 
son from a stuffed specimen, and other 
teachers may stuff their pupils with facts 
about a live specimen; of the two, the 
former is preferable. 

There is no question that making a col- 
lection of insects is an efficient way of 
developing the child's powers of close 
observation, as well as of giving him man- 
ual dexterity in handling fragile things. 
Also it is a false sentiment which attrib- 
utes to an insect the same agony at be- 
ing impaled on a pin that we might suffer 
at being thrust through by a stake. The 
insect nervous system is far more con- 
veniently arranged for such an ordeal than 
ours; and, too, the cyanide bottle brings 
immediate and painless death to the in- 
sects placed within it; moreover, the in- 
sects usually collected have short lives 
anyway. So far as the child is concerned, 


Mounted twigs and nuts. These may be put 
in the bottom, of a shallow box with a sheet of 
cellophane pasted over the top 

he is thinking of his collection of moths 
or butterflies and not at all of taking life; 
so it is not teaching him to wantonly 
destroy living creatures. However, an in- 
discriminate encouragement of the mak- 
ing of insect collections cannot be ad- 
vised. There are some children who will 
profit by it and some who will not, and 
unquestionably the best kind of study of 
insects is watching their interesting ways 
while they live. 

To kill a creature in order to prepare 
it for a nature-study lesson is not only 
wrong but absurd, for nature-study has to 
do with life rather than death, and the 
form of any creature is interesting only 
when its adaptations for life are studied. 
But again, a nature-study teacher may be 
an opportunist; if without any volition 
on her part or the pupils', a freshly killed 
specimen comes to hand, she should 
make the most of it. The writer remem- 
bers most illuminating lessons from a par- 
tridge that broke a window and its neck 

simultaneously during its flight one win- 
ter night, a yellow hammer that killed 
itself against an electric wire, and a musk- 
rat that turned its toes to the skies for 
no understandable reason. In each of 
these cases the creature's special physical 
adaptations for living its own peculiar life 
were studied, and the effect was not the 
study of a dead thing, but of a successful 
and wonderful life. 

In elementary grades, nature-study 
deals with objects which the children can 
see with the naked eye. However, a lens 
is a help in almost all of this work be- 
cause it is such a joy to the child to gaze 
at the wonders it reveals. There is no les- 
son given in this book which requires 
more than a simple lens for seeing the 
most minute parts discussed. An excel- 
lent lens may be bought for a dollar, 
and a fairly good one for fifty cents or 
even twenty-five cents. The lens should 
be chained to a table or desk where it 
may be used by the pupils at recess. This 
gives each an opportunity for using it and 
obviates the danger of losing it. If the 
pupils themselves own lenses, they should 
be fastened by a string or chain to the 

A microscope has no legitimate part in 
nature-study. But if there is one available, 
it reveals so many wonders in the com- 
monest objects that it can ofttimes be 

Bausch & Lornb Optical Co. 

Hand lenses 



Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. 

A field glass 

made a source of added interest. For 
instance, thus to see the scales on the 
butterfly's wing affords the child pleasure 
as well as edification. Field or opera 
glasses, while indispensable for bird study, 
are by no means necessary in nature- 
study. However, the pupils will show 
greater interest in noting the birds' colors 
if they are allowed to make the observa- 
tions with the help of a glass. 


Pictures alone should never be used 
as the subjects for nature-study lessons, 
but they may be of great use in illustrat- 
ing and illuminating a lesson. Books well 
illustrated are more readily compre- 
hended by the child and are often very 
helpful to him, especially after his inter- 
est in the subject is thoroughly aroused. 
If charts are used to illustrate the lesson, 
the child is likely to be misled by the 
size of the drawing, which is also the case 
in blackboard pictures. However, this er- 
ror may be avoided by fixing the atten- 
tion of the pupil on the object first. If 
the pupils are studying the ladybird and 
have it in their hands, the teacher may 
use a diagram representing the beetle as 
a foot long and it will still convey the 
idea accurately; but if she begins with 
the picture, she probably can never con- 

vince the children that the picture has 
anything to do with the insect. 

In making blackboard drawings illus- 
trative of the lesson, it is best, if possible, 
to have one of the pupils do the drawing 
in the presence of the class; or, if the 
teacher does the drawing, she should hold 
the object in her hand while doing it 
and look at it often so that the children 
may see that she is trying to represent it 
accurately. Taking everything into con- 
sideration, however, nature-study charts 
and blackboard drawings are of little use 
to the nature-study teacher, 


Disquieting problems relative to scien- 
tific nomenclature always confront the 
teacher of nature-study. My own practice 
has been to use the popular names of spe- 
cies, except in cases where confusion might 
ensue, and to use the scientific names for 
anatomical parts. However, this matter is 
of little importance if the teacher bears in 
mind that the purpose of nature-study 
is to know the subject under observation 
and to learn the name incidentally. 

Common tree frog or tree toad, Hyla versi- 
cplor versicolor. Another species, Hyla cru- 
cifer, is also often catted the tree frog and tree 
toad. Common names, then } will not distin- 
guish these amphibians one from another; 
the scientific names must be applied 


If the teacher says, " I have a pink he- 
patica. Can anyone find me a blue one? " 
the children, who naturally like grownup 
words, will soon be calling these flowers 
hepaticas. But if the teacher says, " These 
flowers are called hepaticas. Now please 
everyone remember the name. Write it 
in your books as I write it on the black- 
board, and in half an hour I shall ask you 
again what it is," the pupils naturally look 
upon the exercise as a word lesson and its 
real significance is Ipst. This sort of nature- 
study is dust and ashes and there has been 
too much of it. The child should never 
be required to learn the name of any- 
thing in the nature-study work; but the 
name should be used so often and so 
naturally in his presence that he will 
learn it without being conscious of the 


Many of the subjects for nature lessons 
can be studied only in part, since but one 
phase may be available at the time. Often, 
especially if there is little probability that 
the pupils will find opportunity to com- 
plete the study, it is best to round out 
their knowledge by reading or telling the 
story to supplement the facts which they 
have discovered for themselves. This 
story should not be told as a finality or 
as a complete picture but as a guide and 
inspiration for further study. Always 
leave at the end of the story an interroga- 
tion mark that will remain aggressive and 
insistent in the child's mind. To illus- 
trate: Once a club of junior naturalists 
brought me rose leaves injured by the leaf- 
cutter bee and asked me why the leaves 
were cut out so regularly. I told them the 
story of the use made by the mother bee 
of these oval and circular bits of leaves 
and made the account as vital as I was 
able; but at the end I said, " I do not 
know which species of bee cut these 
leaves. She is living here among us and 
building her nest with your rose leaves, 
which she is cutting every day almost 
under your very eyes. Is she then so 


much more clever than you that you can- 
not see her or find her nest? " For two 
years following this lesson I received let- 
ters from members of this club. Two car- 
penter bees and their nests were discov- 
ered by them and studied before the 
mysterious leaf-cutter was finally ferreted 

The leaf-cutter bee 

out. My story had left something inter- 
esting for the young naturalists to dis- 
cover. The children should be impressed 
with the fact that the nature story is 
never finished. There is not a weed or 
an insect or a tree so common that the 
child, by observing carefully, may not see 
things never yet recorded in scientific 
books; therefore the supplementary story 
should be made an inspiration for keener 
interest and further investigation on the 
part of the pupil. The supplementary 
story simply thrusts aside some of the 
obscuring underbrush, thus revealing 
more plainly the path to further knowl- 



but become a vegetarian, and even then 
there might arise refinements in this ques- 
tion of taking life; she might have to con- 
Perhaps no greater danger besets the sider the cruelty to asparagus in cutting 
pathwav of the natuie-studv teacher than it off in plump infancy, or the ethics of 
he question involved in her pupils 7 atti- devouring in the turnip the food laid up 
tude toward life and death. To inculcate by the mother plant to perfect her seed. 

In fact, a most rigorous diet would be 
forced upon the teacher who should re- 
fuse to sustain her own existence at the 
cost of life; and if she should attempt to 

in the child a reverence for life and yet 
to keep him from becoming mawkish 
and morbid is truly a problem. It is al- 
most inevitable that the child should be- 
come sympathetic with the life of the 
animal or plant studied, since a true un- 
derstanding of the life of any creature 
creates an interest which stimulates a de- 

teach the righteousness of such a diet 
she would undoubtedly forfeit her posi- 
tion; and yet what is she to do! She will 
soon find herself in the position of a cer- 

V-iV-aiA-a a.*! JLIJ.I_V*J.V*<OI, > 4.**^** kjtj.j.*^^.^-.-^- * 

sire to protect this particular creature and tain lady who placed sheets of sticky tty- 

. i . / i i *. r . _ "iT *__ ,-..r^^- st*-xMi<[ T~/3-r "Ir-!+TT*l/an f 1 /^ Tirl Tlfr M mi Qf* 

make its life less hard. Many times, within 
my own experience, have I known boys, 
who began by robbing birds' nests for 
egg collections, to end by becoming most 
zealous protectors of the birds. The hu- 
mane qualities within these boys budded 
and blossomed in the growing knowledge 
of the lives of the birds. At Cornell Uni- 
versity, it is a well-known fact that those 
students who turn aside so as not to crush 
the ant, caterpillar, or cricket on the pave- 
ment are almost invariably those that are 
studying entomology 7 ; and in America it 
is the botanists themselves who are lead- 
ing the crusade for flower protection. 

Thus, the nature-study teacher, if she 
does her work well, is a sure aid in in- 
culcating a respect for the rights of all 
living beings to their own lives; and she 
needs only to lend her influence gently 
in this direction to change carelessness 
to thoughtfulness and cruelty to kindness. 
But with this impetus toward a reverence 
for life, the teacher soon finds herself in 
a dilemma from which there is no logical 
way out, so long as she lives in a world 
where Iamb chop, beefsteak, and roast 
chicken are articles of ordinary diet; a 
world in fact, where every meal is based 
upon the death of some creature. For if 
she places much emphasis upon the sa- 
credness of life, the children soon begin to 
question whether it be right to slay the 
lamb or the chicken for their own food. 
It would seem that there is nothing for 
the consistent nature-study teacher to do 

paper around her kitchen to rid her house 
of flies, and then in mental anguish picked 
off the buzzing, struggling victims and 
sought to clean their too adhesive wings 
and legs. 

In fact, drawing the line between what 
to kill and what to let live requires the 
use of common sense rather than logic. 
First of all, the nature-study teacher, while 
exemplifying and encouraging the hu- 
mane attitude toward the lower creatures, 
and repressing cruelty which wantonly 
causes suffering, should never magnify 
the terrors of death. Death is as natural 
as life and is the inevitable end of physical 
life on our globe. Therefore, every story 
and every sentiment expressed which 
makes the child feel that death is terrible 
is wholly wrong. The one right way to 
teach about death is not to emphasize it 
one way or another, but to deal with it 
as a circumstance common to all; it should 
be no more emphasized than the fact that 
creatures eat or fall asleep. 

Another thing for the nature-study 
teacher to do is to direct the interest of 
the child so that it shall center upon the 
hungry creature rather than upon the one 
which is made into the meal. It is well 
to emphasize that one of the conditions 
imposed upon every living being in the 
woods and fields is that if it is clever 
enough to get a meal it is entitled to one 
when it is hungry. The child naturally 
takes this view of it. I remember well 
that as a child I never thought particu- 


larly about the mouse which my cat 
was eating; in fact, the process of trans- 
muting mouse into cat seemed altogether 
proper, but when the cat played with the 
mouse, that was quite another thing, and 
was never permitted. Although no one ap- 
preciates more deeply than I the debt 
which we owe to Thompson Seton and 
writers of his kind, who have placed be- 
fore the public the animal story from the 
animal point of view and thus set us all 
to thinking, yet it is certainly wrong to 
impress this view too strongly upon the 
young and sensitive child. In fact, this 
process should not begin until the judg- 
ment and the understanding are well de- 
veloped, for we all know that although 
seeing the other fellow's standpoint is a 
source of strength and breadth of mind, 
yet living the other fellow 7 s life is, at 
best, an enfeebling process and a futile 
waste of energy. 


It is probably within the proper scope 
of the nature-study teacher to place em- 
phasis upon the domain of man, who, be- 
ing the most powerful of all animals, as- 
serts his will as to which ones shall live in 
his midst. From a standpoint of abstract 
justice, the stray cat has just as much 
right to kill and eat the robin which 
builds in the vine of my porch as the 
robin has to pull and eat the earth- 
worms from my lawn; but the place is 
mine, and I choose to kill the cat and pre- 
serve the robin. 

When emphasizing the domain of 
man, we may have to deal with the kill- 
ing of creatures which are injurious to 
his interests. Nature-study may be tribu- 
tary to this, in a measure and indirectly, 
but the study of this question is surely 
not nature-study. For example, the child 
studies the cabbage butterfly in all its 
stages, the exquisitely sculptured yellow 
egg, the velvety green caterpillar, the 
chrysalis with its protecting colors, the 
white-winged butterfly, and becomes in- 
terested in the life of the insect. Not 
under any consideration, when the atten- 

tion of the child is focused on the insect, 
should we suggest a remedy for it when 
it becomes a pest. Let the life story of the 
butterfly stand as a fascinating page of 
nature's book. But later, when the child 
enters on his career as a gardener, when 
he sets out his row of cabbage plants and 
waters and cultivates them, and does his 
best to bring them to maturity, along 
conies the butterfly, now an arch enemy, 
and begins to rear her progeny on the 
product of his toil. Now the child's in- 
terest is focused on the cabbage, and the 
question is not one of killing insects so 
much as of saving plants. In fact there is 
nothing in spraying the plants with Paris 
green which suggests cruelty to innocent 
caterpillars, nor is the process likely to 
harden the child's sensibilities. 

To gain knowledge of the life stow of 
insects or other creatures is nature-study. 
To destroy them as pests is a part of agri- 
culture or horticulture. The one may be 
of fundamental assistance to the other, 
but the two are quite separate and should 
never be confused. 


A field notebook may be made a joy 
to the pupil and a help to the teacher. 
Any kind of blank book will do for this, 
except that it should not be too large to 
be carried in the pocket, and it should 
always have the pencil attached. To make 
the notebook a success the following rules 
should be observed: 

(a) The book should be considered 
the personal property of the child and 
should never be criticized by the teacher 
except as a matter of encouragement; for 
the spirit in which the notes are made is 
more important than the information 
they cover. 

(b) The making of drawings to illus- 
trate what is observed should be encour- 
aged. A graphic drawing is far better than 
a long description of a natural object. 

(c) The notebook should not be re- 
garded as a part of the work in English. 
The spelling, language, and writing of the 
notes should all be exempt from criticism. 

(d) As occasion offers, outlines for ob- 


. a.73. 


t f 

J a r* u 

t t 





A page from the field notebook of a boy of fourteen who read Thoreau and admired the books 

of Ernest Thompson Seton 

serving certain plants or animals may be 
placed in the notebook previous to the 
field excursion so as to give definite points 
for the work. 

(e) No child should be compelled to 
have a notebook. 

The field notebook is a veritable gold 
mine for the nature-study teacher to work. 

in securing voluntary and happy observa- 
tions from the pupils concerning their 
out-of-door interests. It is a friendly gate 
which admits the teacher to a knowledge 
of what the child sees and cares for. 
Through it she may discover where the 
child's attention impinges upon the 
realm of nature and thus may know 


A brook in winter 

where to find the starting point for cul- 
tivating larger intelligence and wider in- 

I have examined many field notebooks 
kept by pupils in the intermediate grades 
and have been surprised at their pleni- 
tude of accurate observation and graphic 
illustration. These books ranged from 
blank account books furnished by the 
family grocer up to a quarto, the pages of 
which were adorned with many marginal 
illustrations made in passionate admira- 
tion of Thompson Seton's books and 
filled with carefully transcribed text that 
showed the direct influence of Thoreau. 
These books, of whatever quality, are pre- 
cious beyond price to their owners. And 
why not? For they represent what cannot 
be bought or sold, personal experience in 
the happy world of out-of-doors. 

Many teachers look upon the field ex- 
cursion as a precarious voyage, steered be- 
tween the Scylla of hilarious seeing too 
much and the Charybdis of seeing noth- 
ing at all because of the zest which comes 
from freedom in the fields and wood. 
This danger can be obviated if the teacher 
plans the work definitely before starting, 
and demands certain results. 

It is a mistake to think that a half day 
is necessary for a field lesson, since a very 

efficient field trip may be made during the 
ten or fifteen minutes at recess, If it is~well 
planned. Certain questions and lines of 
investigation should be given the pupils 

before starting and given in such a man- 
ner as to make them thoroughly inter- 
ested in discovering the facts ^ A "certain 

teacher in New York State lias studied all 
the common plants and trees in the vi- 
cinity- of her school by means of these re- 
cess excursions and the pupils have been 
enthusiastic about the work. 

The half-hour excursion should be pre- 
ceded by a talk concerning the purposes 
of the outing and the pupils must know 
that certain observations are to be made 
or they will not be permitted to go again. 
This should not be emphasized as a pun- 
ishment; but they should be made to un- 
derstand that a field excursion is only, 
naturally enough, for those who wish to 
see and understand outdoor life. For all 
field work, the teacher should make use 
of the field notebook which should be 
a part of the pupils" equipment. 

Little attention has been given to mak- 
ing the child understand what would be 
the lives of his pets if they were in their 
native environment, or to relating their 
habits and lives as wild animals. Almost 
any pet, if properly observed, affords an 
admirable opportunity for understanding 
the reasons why its structure and peculiar 
habits may have made it successful among 
other creatures and in other lands. 
Moreover., the actions and the daily 

W. J. Hamilton, Jr. 

Young woodchucks 



life of the pet make interesting subject 
matter for a notebook. The lessons on 
the dog, rabbit and horse as given in this 
volume may suggest methods for such 
stud}', and with apologies that it is not 
better and more interesting, I have placed 
with the story of the squirrel a few pages 
from one of my own notebooks regard- 
ing my experiences with " Furry." I in- 
clude this record as a suggestion for the 
children that they should keep notebooks 
of their pets. It will lead them to closer 
observation and to a better and more nat- 
ural expression of their experiences. 


Nature-study should be so much a part 
of the child's thought and interest that it 
will naturally form a thought core for 
other subjects quite unconsciously on his 
part. In fact, there is one safe rule for cor- 
relation in this case it is legitimate and 
excellent training as long as the pupil does 
not discover that he is correlating. But 
there is something in human nature which 
revolts against doing one thing to accom- 
plish quite another. A boy once said to 
me, " I'd rather never go on a field ex- 
cursion than to have to write it up for 
English/' a sentiment I sympathized with 
keenly; ulterior motive is sickening to the 
honest spirit. But if that same boy had 
been a member of a field class and had en- 
joyed all the new experiences and had 
witnessed the interesting things discov- 
ered on this excursion, and if later his 
teacher had asked him to write for her 
an account of some part of it, because 
she wished to know what he had discov- 
ered, the chances are that he would have 
written his story joyfully and with a 
certain pride that would have counted 
much for achievement in word expres- 

When Mr. John Spencer, known to so 
many children in New York State as 
" Uncle John," was conducting the Junior 
Naturalist Clubs, the teachers allowed 
letters to him to count for language ex- 
ercises; and the eagerness with which 

these letters were written should have 
given the teachers the key to the proper 
method of teaching English. Mr. Spencer 
requested the teachers not to correct the 
letters, because he wished the children 
to be thinking about the subject matter 
rather than the form of expression. But 
so anxious were many of the pupils to 
make their letters perfect that they ear- 
nestly requested their teachers to help 
them write correctly, which was an ideal 
condition for teaching them English. 
Writing letters to Uncle John was such 
a joy to the pupils that it was used as a 
privilege and a reward of merit in many 
schools. One rural teacher reduced the 
percentage of tardiness to a minimum by 
giving the first period in the morning to 
the work in English which consisted of 
letters to Uncle John. 

Why do pupils dislike writing English 
exercises? Simply because they are not 
interested in the subject they are asked 
to write about, and they know that the 
teacher is not interested in the informa- 
tion contained in the essay. But when 
they are interested in the subject and 
write about it to a person who is inter- 
ested, the conditions are entirely changed. 
If the teacher, overwhelmed as she is by 
work and perplexities, could only keep in 
mind that the purpose of a language is, 
after all, merely to convey ideas, some of 
her perplexities would fade away. A con- 
veyance naturally should be fitted for the 
load it is to carry, and if the pupil ac- 
quires the load first he is very likely to 
construct a conveyance that will be ade- 
quate. How often the conveyance is made 
perfect through much effort and polished 
through agony of spirit and the load en- 
tirely forgotten! 

Nature-study lessons give much excel- 
lent subject matter for stories and essays, 
but these essays should never be criticized 
or defaced with the blue pencil. They 
should be read with interest by the 
teacher; the mistakes made in them, so 
transformed as to be unrecognizable, may 
be used for drill exercises in grammatical 
construction. After all, grammar and spell- 
ing are only gained by practice and there 


is no royal road leading to their acquire- 


The correlation of nature-study and 
drawing is so natural and inevitable that 
it needs never be revealed to the pupil. 
When the child is interested in studying 
any object, he enjoys illustrating his ob- 
servations with drawings; the happy ab- 

r " ~~' 

A mounted fern. A pressed dry fern placed 
on a layer of cotton batting backed by card- 
board is covered with a sheet of cellophane 
and is slipped into an envelope from which a 
panel has been cut 

sorption of children thus engaged is a 
delight to witness. At its best, drawing is 
a perfectly natural method of self-expres- 
sion. The savage and the young child, 
both untutored, seek to express them- 
selves and their experiences by this means. 
It is only when the object to be drawn 
is foreign to the interest of the child that 
drawing is a task. 

Nature-study offers the best means for 
bridging the gap that lies between the 

kindergarten child who makes drawings 
because he loves to and is impelled to 
from within, and the pupil in the grades 
who is obliged to draw what the teacher 
places before him. From making crude 
and often meaningless pencil strokes, 
which is the entertainment of the voting 
child, to the outlining of a leaf or some 
other simple and interesting natural ob- 
ject is a normal step full of interest for 
the child because it is still self-expression. 

Miss Man" E. Hill, formerly of the 
Goodyear School of Syracuse, s;ave each 
year an exhibition of the drawings made 
by the children in the nature-study classes; 
and these were universally so excellent 
that most people regarded them as an 
exhibition from the art department; and 
yet many of these pupils never had had 
lessons in drawing. They had learned to 
draw because they liked to make pictures 
of the living objects which they had 
studied. One year there were in this ex- 
hibit many pictures of toads in various 
stages, and although their anatomy was 
sometimes awry in the pictures, yet there 
was a certain vivid expression of life in 
their representation; one felt that the 
toads could jump. Miss Hill allowed the 
pupils to choose their own medium, pen- 
cil, crayon, or water color, and said that 
they seemed to feel which was best. For 
instance, when drawing the outline of 
trees in winter they chose pencil, but when 
representing the trill iuni or iris they pre- 
ferred the water color, while for bitter- 
sweet and crocuses they chose the colored 

It is through this method of drawing 
that which interests him that the child 
retains and keeps as his own what should 
be an inalienable right, a graphic method 
of expressing his own impressions. Too 
much have we emphasized drawing as art 
art; it may be an art, if the one who draws 
is an artist; but if he is not an artist, he 
still has a right to draw if it pleases him 
to do so. We might as well declare that 
a child should not speak unless he put 
his words into poetry, as to declare that 
he should not draw because his drawings 
are not artistic. 




Life depends upon its environment. 
Geographical conditions and limitations 
have shaped the mold into which plastic 
life has been poured and by which its 
form has been modified. It may be easy 
for the untrained mind to see how the 
deserts and oceans affect life. Cattle may 
not roam in the former because there is 

U. S. Geological Survey Photo by W. G. Pierce 

A meandering stream 

nothing there for them to eat, nor may 
they occupy the latter because they are 
not fitted for breathing air in the water. 
And yet the camel can endure thirst and 
live on the scant food of the desert; and 
the whale is a mammal fitted to live in 
the sea. The question is, how are we to 
impress the child with the " have to " 
which lies behind all these geographical 
facts? If animals live in the desert they 
have to subsist on scant and peculiar food 
which grows there; they have to get along 
with little water; they have to endure heat 
and sand storms; they have to have eyes 
that will not become blinded by the vivid 
reflection of the sunlight on the sand; they 
have to be of sand color so that they may 
escape the eyes of their enemies or creep 
upon their prey unperceived. 

All these " have to's " are not mere 
chance, but they have existed so long that 
the animal, by constantly coming in con- 
tact with them, has attained its present 
form and habits. 

There are just as many " have to's " in 
the stream or the pond back of the school- 
house, on the dry hillside behind it, or 
in the woods beyond the creek as there 
are in desert or ocean; and when the child 

gets an inkling of this fact, he has made 
a great step into the realm of geography. 
When he realizes why water lilies can 
grow only in still water that is not too 
deep and which has a silt bottom, and 
why the cattails grow in swamps where 
there is not too much water, and why the 
mullein grows in the dry pasture, and 
why the hepatica thrives in the rich, 
damp woods, and why the daisies grow 
in the meadows, he will understand that 
this partnership of nature and geography 
illustrates the laws which govern life. 
Many phases of physical geography be- 
long to the realm of nature-study: the 
brook, its course, its work of erosion and 
sedimentation; the rocks of many kinds, 
the soil, the climate, the weather, are all 
legitimate subjects for nature-study les- 


There are many points where nature- 
study impinges upon history in a way 
that may prove the basis for an inspiring 
lesson. Many of our weeds, cultivated 
plants, and domestic animals have been 
introduced from Europe and are a part of 
our colonial history; while many of the 
most commonly seen creatures have played 
their part in the history of ancient times. 
For instance, the bees which gave to man 
the only means available to him for sweet- 
ening his food until the iyth century, were 
closely allied to the home life of ancient 
peoples. The buffalo which ranged our 
western plains had much to do with the 
life of the red man. The study of the grass- 
hopper brings to the child's attention 
stories of the locusts' invasion mentioned 
in the Bible, and the stars which witnessed 
our creation and of which Job sang and 
the ancients wrote, shine over our heads 
every night. 

But the trees, through the lengthy span 
of their lives, cover more history individu- 
ally than do other organisms. In glancing 
across the wood-covered hills of New 
York one often sees there, far above the 
other trees, the gaunt crowns of old white 
pines. Such trees belonged to the forest 


primeval and may have attained the age 
of two centuries; they stand there look- 
ing out over the world, relics of another 
age when America belonged to the red 
man, and the bear and the panther played 
or fought beneath them. The cedars live 

The Arnold Arboretum 

The Endicott pear tree. This tree was 
planted by Governor John Endicott in his 
garden in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1630. 
George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and 
Daniel Webster enjoyed the fruit of this 
patriarchal tree. Sprouts, shown above, from 
the old tree still bear 

longer than do the pines, and the great 
scarlet oak may have attained the age of 
four centuries before it yields to fate. 

Perhaps in no other way can the atten- 
tion of the pupil be turned so naturally 
to past events as through the thought 
that the life of such a tree has spanned 
so much of human history. The life his- 
tory of one of these ancient trees should 
be made the center of local history; let 
the pupils find when the town was first 
settled by the whites and where they came 
from, and how large the tree was then; 
what Indian tribes roamed the woods be- 
fore that and what animals were common 
in the forest when this tree was a sapling. 
Thus may be brought out the chief events 
in the history of the county and town- 
ship, when they were established and for 

whom or what they were named; and a 
comparison of the present industries may 
be made with those of a hundred years 


The arithmetical problems presented 
by nature-study are many; some of them 
are simple and some of them are com- 
plicated, and all of them are illuminating. 
Seed distribution especially lends itself to 
computation; a milkweed pod contains 
140 seeds; there are five such pods on 
one plant; each milkweed plant requires 
at least one square foot of ground to grow 
on; how much ground would be required 
to grow all of the seeds from this one 
plant? Or, count the seeds in one dande- 
lion head, multiply by the number of 
flower heads on the plant and estimate 
how many plants can grow on a square 
foot, then ask a boy how long it would 
take for one dandelion plant to cover his 


W. C. Muenscher 

A red cedar and its seedlings 

father's farm with its progeny; or count 
the blossoms on one branch of an apple 
tree, later count the ripened fruit; what 
percentage of blossoms matured into fruit? 
Measuring trees, their height and thick- 
ness and computing the lumber they will 
make combines arithmetic and geometry, 
and so on ad infinitum. 


As a matter of fact, the teacher will 
find in almost every nature lesson an 
arithmetic lesson; and when arithmetic 
is used in this work, it should be vital and 
inherent and not " tacked on "; the pu- 
pils should be really interested in the an- 
swers to their problems; and as with all 
correlation, the success of it depends upon 
the genius of the teacher. 

Erroneously, some people maintain 
that gardening is nature-study; this is not 
so necessarily nor ordinarily. Gardening 
may be a basis for nature-study, but it is 
rarely made so to any great extent. Even 
the work in children's gardens is so con- 
ducted that the pupils know little or 
nothing of the flowers or vegetables which 
they grow except their names, their uses 
to man, and how to cultivate them. They 
are taught how to prepare the soil, but 
the reason for this from the plant's stand- 
point is never revealed; and if the child 
becomes acquainted with the plants in 
his garden, he makes the discovery by 
himself. All this is nothing against gar- 
dening! It is a wholesome and valuable 
experience for a child to learn how to 
make a garden even if he remains ignorant 
of the interesting facts concerning the 
plants which he there cultivates. But if 
the teachers are so inclined, they may 
find in the garden and its products the 
most interesting material for the best of 
nature lessons. Every plant the child 
grows is an individual with its own pe- 
culiarities as well as those of its species 
in manner of growth. Its roots, stems, and 
leaves are of certain form and structure; 
and often the special uses to the plant of 
its own kind of leaves, stems, and roots 
are obvious. Each plant has its own form 
of flower and even its own tricks for se- 
curing pollination; and its own manner of 
developing and scattering its seeds. Every 
weed of the garden has developed some 
special method of winning and holding 
its place among the cultivated plants; and 
in no other way can the child so fully 
and naturally come into a comprehension 
of that term " the survival of the fittest " 


as by studying the ways of the fit as exem- 
plified in the triumphant weeds of his 

Every earthworm working below the 
soil is doing something for the garden. 
Every bee that visits the flowers there is 
on an errand for the garden as well as for 
herself. Every insect feeding on leaf or 
root is doing something to the garden. 
Every bird that nests near by or that ever 
visits it, is doing something which affects 
the life and the growth of the garden. 
What all of these uninvited guests are 
doing is one field of garden nature-study. 
Aside from all this study of individual 
life in the garden, which even the young- 
est child may take part in, there are the 
more advanced lessons on the soil. What 
kind of soil is it? From what sort of rock 
was it formed? What renders it mellow 
and fit for the growing of plants? More- 
over, what do the plants get from it? How 
do they get it? What do they do with 
what they get? 

This leads to the subject of plant physi- 
ology, the elements of which may be 
taught simply by experiments carried on 
by the children themselves, experiments 
which should demonstrate the sap cur- 
rents in the plant; the use of water to 

carry food and to make the plant rigid; 
the use of sunshine in making the plant 
food in the leaf laboratories; the nourish- 
ment provided for the seed and its germi- 
nation, and many other similar lessons. 

A child who makes a garden, and thus 
becomes intimate with the plants he cul- 
tivates, and comes to understand the in- 
terrelation of the various forms of life 



which he finds in his garden, has pro- 
gressed far in the fundamental knowledge 
of nature's ways as well as in a practical 
knowledge of agriculture. 

Luckily, thumb-rule agriculture is be- 
ing pushed to the wall in these enlight- 
ened days. Thumb rules would work 
much better if nature did not vary her 
performances in such a confusing way. 
Government experiment stations were es- 
tablished because thumb rules for farm- 
ing were unreliable and disappointing; 
and all the work of all the experiment 
stations has been simply advanced nature- 
study and its application to the practice 
of agriculture. Both nature-study and ag- 
riculture are based upon the study of life 
and the physical conditions which en- 
courage or limit life; this is known to the 
world as the study of the natural sciences; 
and if we see clearly the relation of nature- 
study to science, we may understand 
better the relation of nature-study to ag- 
riculture, which is based upon the sciences. 
Nature-study is science brought home. 
It is a knowledge of botany, zoology, and 
geology as illustrated in the dooryard, the 
cornfield or the woods back of the house. 
Some people have an idea that to know 
these sciences one must go to college; 
they do not understand that nature has 
furnished the material and laboratories 
on every farm in the land. Thus, by be- 
ginning with the child in nature-study we 
take him to the laboratory of the wood 
or garden, the roadside or the field, and 
his materials are the wild flowers or the 

Marion E. Wesp 

A wheat shock 

Dept. of Agronomy, N. Y. State College of Agriculture 

A meadow at harvest time 

weeds, or the insects that visit the golden- 
rod or the bird that sings in the maple 
tree, or the woodchuck whistling in the 
pasture. The child begins to study living 
things anywhere or everywhere, and his 
progress is always along the various tracks 
laid down by the laws of life, along which 
his work as an agriculturist must always 
progress if it is to be successful. 

The child through nature-study learns 
the way a plant grows, whether it be an 
oak, a turnip, or a pigweed; he learns how 
the roots of each are adapted to its needs; 
how the leaves place themselves to get 
the sunshine and why they need it; and 
how the flowers get their pollen carried 
by the bee or the wind; and how the 
seeds are finally scattered and planted. 
Or he learns about the life of the bird, 
whether it be a chicken, an owl, or a 
bobolink; he knows how each bird gets 
its food and what its food is, where it 
lives, where it nests, and its relation to 
other living things. He studies the bum- 
blebee and discovers its great mission of 
pollen-carrying for many flowers, and in 
the end would no sooner strike it dead 
than he would voluntarily destroy his 
clover patch. This is the kind of learn- 
ing we call nature-study and not science 
or agriculture. But the country child can 
never learn anything in nature-study that 
has not something to do with science, and 
that has not its own practical lesson for 
him, when he shall become a farmer. 

Some have argued, " Why not make 
nature-study solely along the lines of agri- 



culture? Why should not the child begin 
nature-study with the cabbage rather than 
with the wild flowers?'' This argument 
carried out logically provides recreation 
for a boy in hoeing corn rather than in 
playing ball. Many parents in the past 
have argued thus and have, in conse- 
quence, driven thousands of splendid 
boys from the country to the city with a 
loathing in their souls for the drudgery 
which seemed all there was to farm life. 
The reason the wild flowers may be se- 
lected for beginning the nature-study of 
plants is that every child loves these wood- 
land posies, and his happiest hours are 
spent in gathering them. Never yet have 
we known of a case where a child, having 
gained his knowledge of the way a plant 
lives through studying the plants he loves, 
has failed to be interested and delighted 
to find that the wonderful things he dis- 
covered about his wild flower may be true 
of the vegetable in the garden, or the 
purslane which fights with it for ground 
to stand upon. 

Some have said, " We, as farmers, care 
only to know what concerns our pocket- 
books; we wish only to study those things 
which we must, as farmers, cultivate or 
destroy. We do not care for the butterfly, 
but we wish to know the plum weevil; we 
do not care for the trillium, but we are 
interested in the onion; we do not care 
for the meadowlark, but we cherish the 
gosling." This is an absurd argument 
since it is a mental impossibility for any 
human being to discriminate between 
two things when he knows or sees only 
one. In order to understand the impor- 
tant economic relations to the world of 
one plant or animal, it is absolutely nec- 
essary to have a wide knowledge of other 
plants and animals. One might as well 
say, " I will see the approaching cyclone, 
but never look at the sky; I will look at the 
clover, but not see the dandelion; I will 
look for the sheriff when he comes over 
the hill, but will not see any other team 
on the road." 

Nature-study is an effort to make the 
individual use his senses instead of losing 
them; to train him to keep his eyes open 

to all things so that his powers of dis- 
crimination shall be based on wisdom. 
The ideal farmer is not the man who by 
hazard and chance succeeds; he is the 
man who loves his farm and all that sur- 
rounds it because he is awake to the 
beauty as well as to the wonders which 
are there; he is the man who understands 
as far as may be the great forces of nature 
which are at work around him, and there- 
fore he is able to make them work for 
him. For what is agriculture save a diver- 
sion of natural forces for the benefit of 
man! The farmer who knows these forces 
only when restricted to his paltry crops, 
and has no idea of their larger application, 
is no more efficient as a farmer than a man 
who knew only how to start and stop an 
engine would be as an engineer. 

In order to appreciate truly his farm, 
the farmer must needs begin as a child 
with nature-study; in order to be success- 
ful and make the farm pay, he must needs 
continue in nature-study; and to make his 
declining years happy, content, full of 
wide sympathies and profitable thought, 
he must needs conclude with nature- 
study; for nature-study is the alphabet of 
agriculture and no word in that great vo- 
cation may be spelled without it. 


The organizing by the pupils of a club 
for studying out-of-door life is a great help 
and inspiration to the work in nature-study 
in the classroom. The essays and the talks 
before the club prove efficient aid in Eng- 
lish composition; and the varied interests 
of the members of the club furnish new 
and vital material for study. A button or a 
badge may be designed for the club and, 
of course, it must have a constitution and 
bylaws. The proceedings of the club meet- 
ings should be conducted according to 
parliamentary rules; but the field excur- 
sions should be entirely informal. 

The meetings of the Junior Naturalists 
Clubs, as organized in the schools of New 
York State by Mr. John W. Spencer, 
were most impressive. The school session 
would be brought to a close, the teacher 
stepping down and taking a seat with the 


pupils. The president of the club, some 
bashful boy or slender slip of a girl, 
would take the chair and conduct the 
meeting with a dignity and efficiency 
worthy of a statesman. The order was per- 
fect, the discussion much to the point. 
I confess to a feeling of awe when I at- 
tended these meetings, conducted so seri- 
ously and so formally, by such youngsters. 
Undoubtedly, the parliamentary training 
and experience in speaking impromptu are 
among the chief benefits of such a club. 
These clubs may be organized for spe- 
cial study. In one bird club of which I 
know there have been contests. Sides 
were chosen and the number of birds seen 

from May i to 31 inclusive was the 
test of supremacy. Notes on the birds 
were taken in the field with such care 
that, when at the end of the month each 
member handed in his notes, they could 
be used as evidence of accurate identifica- 
tion. An umpire decided the doubtful 
points with the help of bird manuals. The 
contest was always close and exciting. 

The programs of the nature club should 
be varied so as to be continually interest- 
ing. Poems and stories concerning the 
objects studied help make the program 
attractive. Observing nature, however, 
should be the central theme of all 


First and indispensably, the teacher 
should have at hand the subject of the 
lesson. She should make herself familiar 
with the points covered by the questions 
and read the story before giving the les- 
son. If she does not have the time to go 
over the observations suggested before 
giving the lesson, she should take up the 
questions with the pupils as a joint inves- 
tigation, and be boon companion in dis- 
covering the story. 

The story should not be read to the 
pupils. It is given as an assistance to the 
teacher, and is not meant for direct in- 
formation to the pupils. If the teacher 
knows a fact in nature's realm, she is then 
in a position to lead her pupils to dis- 
cover this fact for themselves. 

Make the lesson an investigation and 
make the pupils feel that they are in- 
vestigators. To tell the story to begin 
with inevitably spoils this attitude and 
quenches interest. 

The "leading thought" embodies 
some of the points which should be in 
the teacher's mind while giving the les- 
son; it should not be read or declared to 
the pupils. 

The outlines for observations herein 
given by no means cover all of the ob- 
servations possible; they are meant to sug- 

gest to the teacher observations of her 
own, rather than to be followed slavishly. 
The suggestions for observations have 
been given in the form of questions, 
merely for the sake of saving space. The 
direct questioning method, if not em- 
ployed with discretion, becomes tiresome 

Marion E. Wesp 

to both pupil and teacher. If the ques- 
tions do not inspire the child to investi- 
gate, they are useless. To grind out an- 
swers to questions about any natural 
object is not nature-study, it is simply 
" grind," a form of mental activity which 
is of much greater use when applied to 
spelling or the multiplication table than 
to the study of nature. The best teacher 
will cover the points suggested for ob- 
servations with few direct questions. To 
those who find the questions inadequate I 


will say that, although I have used these 
outlines once, I am sure I should never be 
able to use them again without making 

A hickory tree 

Marion E. Wesp 

The topics chosen for these lessons may 
not be the most practical or the most 
interesting or the most enlightening 
that are to be found; they are simply 
those subjects which I have used in my 
classes, because we happened to find them 
at hand the mornings the lessons were 

While an earnest attempt has been 
made to make the information in this 
book accurate, it is to be expected and to 
be hoped that many discrepancies will 
be found by those who follow the lessons. 
No two animals or plants are just alike, 
and no two people see things exactly the 
same way. The chief aim of this volume 
is to encourage investigation rather than 
to give information. Therefore, if mis- 
takes are found, the object of the book 
will have been accomplished, and the 
author will feel deeply gratified. If the 
teacher finds that the observations made 
by her and her pupils do not agree with 
the statements in the book, I earnestly 
enjoin upon her to trust to her own eyes 
rather than to any book. 

No teacher is expected to teach all the 
lessons in this book. A wide rarige of 
subjects is given, so that congenial choice 
may be made. 



For some inexplicable reason, the word 
animal ? in common parlance, is restricted 
to the mammals. As a matter of fact, the 
bird, the fish, the insect, and the snake 
have as much right to be called animals as 
the squirrel or the deer. And while I be- 
lieve that much freedom in the matter of 
scientific nomenclature is permissible in 
nature-study, I also believe that it is well 
for the child to have a clearly defined idea 
of the classes into which the animal king- 
dom is divided; I would have him gain 
this knowledge by noting how one animal 

differs from another rather than by study- 
ing the classification of animals in books. 
He sees that the fish differs in many ways 
from the bird and that the toad differs 
from the snake; and it will be easy for 
him to grasp the fact that the mammals 
differ from all other animals in that their 
young are nourished by milk from the 
breasts of the mother; when he appreci- 
ates this, he will understand that such 
diverse forms as the whale, the cow, the 
bat, and man are members of one great 
class of animals. 


Young phoebes that have just left the nest 

The reason for studying any bird is to 
ascertain what it does; in order to accom- 
plish this, it is necessary to know what 
the bird is, learning what it is being 
simply a step that leads to a knowledge 
of what it does. But, to hear some of our 
bird devotees talk, one would think that 
to be able to identify a bird is all of bird 
study. On the contrary, the identification 
of birds is simply the alphabet to the real 
study, the alphabet by means of which 
we may spell out the life habits of the 
bird. To know these habits is the ambition 
of the true ornithologist, and should like- 
wise be the ambition of the beginner, 
even though the beginner be a young 

Several of the most common birds have 
been selected as subjects for lessons in 
this book; other common birds, like the 
phosbe and the wrens, have been purposely 
omitted; after the children have studied 
the birds, as indicated in the lessons, they 
will enjoy working out lessons for them- 
selves with other birds. Naturally, the se- 
quence of these lessons does not follow 
scientific classification; in the first lessons, 
an attempt has been made to lead the 

child gradually into a knowledge of bird 
life. Beginning with the chicken there fol- 
low naturally the lessons with pigeons and 
the canary; then there follow the careful 
and detailed study of the robins and con^ 
stant comparison of them with the blue- 
birds. This is enough for the first year 
in the primary grades. The next year the 
work begins with the birds that remain 
the North during the winter, the 


Leonard K. Beyer 

A family of cedar waxwings 


chickadee, nuthatch, and downy wood- 
pecker. After these have been studied care- 
fully, the teacher may be an opportunist 
when spring comes and select any of the 
lessons when the bird subjects are at hand. 
The classification suggested for the wood- 
peckers and the swallows is for more ad- 
vanced pupils, as are the lessons on the 
geese and turkeys. It is to be hoped that 
these lessons will lead the child directly to 
the use of the bird books, of which there 
are many excellent ones; for these, see the 


The hen is especially adapted as an ob- 
ject lesson for the young beginner of bird 
study. First of all, she is a bird, notwith- 
standing the adverse opinions of two of 
my small pupils who stoutly maintained 
that " a robin is a bird, but a hen is a hen/ 7 
Moreover, the hen is a bird always avail- 
able for nature-study; she looks askance 
at us from the crates of the world's 
marts; she comes to meet us in the coun- 
try barnyard, stepping toward us sedately; 
looking at us earnestly with one eye, then 

Leonard K. Beyer 

A redstart at her nest 

turning her head so as to check up her 
observations with the other; meantime 
she asks us a little question in a whee- 
dling, soft tone, which we understand per- 
fectly to mean, " Have you perchance 


but she is a bird with problems; and by 
studying her carefully we may be intro- 
duced into the very heart and center of 
bird life. 

This lesson may be presented in two 
ways : First, if the pupils live in the coun- 
try, where they have poultry at home, the 
whole series of lessons may best be accom- 
plished through talks by the teacher, fol- 
lowed on the part of the children by ob- 
servations to be made at home. The re- 
sults of these observations should be given 
in school in oral or written lessons. Sec- 
ond, if the pupils are not familiar with 
fowls, a hen and a chick, if possible, should 
be kept in a cage in the schoolroom for a 
few days, and a duck or gosling should be 
brought in one day for observation. The 
crates in which fowls are sent to market 
make very good cages. One of the teachers 
of the Elmira, N. Y. schools introduced 
into the basement of the schoolhouse a 
hen, which there hatched her brood of 
chicks, much to the children's delight and 
edification. After the pupils have become 
thoroughly interested in the hen and are 
familiar with her ways, after they have feel 
her and watched her, and have for her a 
sense of ownership, the following lessons 
may be given in an informal manner, as if 
they were naturally suggested to the 
teacher's mind through watching the fowl. 

Cards, by Allan Brooks, with text by 
Alden H. Hadley; Audubon Bird Leaflets, 
published by the National Association of 
Audubon Societies; The Bird Book, by 
Neltje Blanchan; Bird Guide: Land Birds 
East of the Rodcies, by Chester A. Reed; 
Bird Guide; Water Birds, Game Birds 
and Birds of Prey East of the Rockies, by 
Chester A. Reecl; Bird Life, by Frank M. 
Chapman; Birds of America, edited by 
T. Gilbert Pearson; Birds of Massachu- 
setts and Other New England States, by 
Edward H. Forbusli; Birds of Minnesota, 
Bird Portraits in Color, A Manual for the 
Identification of the Birds of Minnesota 
and Neighboring States, 295 American 
Birds (pictures in spiral binding or loose 

brought me something to eat? " Not only in portfolio), all by Thomas S. Roberts; 
is the hen an interesting bird in herself, Birds of New York, by E. H. Eaton; The 


Book of Bird Life, by A. A. Allen; The 
Book of Birds, edited by Gilbert Grosve- 
nor and Alexander Wetmore; The Chil- 
dren's Book of Birds ( First Book of Birds 
and Second Book of Birds), by Olive 
Thorne Miller; A Field Guide' to the 
Birds, by Roger Tory Peterson; Handbook 
of the Birds of Eastern North America, 
by Frank M. Chapman; Ornithology 
Laboratory Notebook, by A. A. Allen; Red 
Book of Birds of America, Blue Book of 
Birds of America, Green Book of Birds 


of America, by Frank G. Ashbrook; What 
Bird is That?" by Frank M. Chapman. 

(These books contain descriptions and 
accounts of all the wild birds considered 
in this section of the Handbook. Addi- 
tional references are to be found in the 
bibliography in the back of the book, un- 
der various headings: Birds, Animals in 
General, Nature Study in General, Text- 
books and Readers, Nature Poetry, Maga- 
zines and Periodicals, Books for Parents 
and Teachers.) 


The bird's clothing affords a natural 
beginning for bird study because the wear- 
ing of feathers is a most striking character- 
istic distinguishing birds from other crea- 

Hooks on barbels 

A feather 

tares; also, feathers and flying are the first 
things the young child notices about birds. 
The purpose of all these lessons on 
the hen are: (a) To induce the child to 
make continued and sympathetic observa- 
tions on the habits of the domestic birds. 

(b) To cause him involuntarily to com- 
pare the domestic with the wild birds. 

(c) To induce him to think for himself 
how the shape of the body, wings, head, 
beak, feet, legs, and feathers are adapted in 
each species to protect the bird and assist 
it in getting its living. 

The overlapping of the feathers on a 
hen's back and breast is a pretty illustra- 
tion of nature's method of shingling, so 
that the rain, finding no place to enter, 
drips off, leaving the bird's underclothing 
quite dry. It is interesting to note how a 
hen behaves in the rain; she droops her 
tail and holds herself so that the water 
finds upon her no resting place, but simply 
a steep surface down which to flow to the 

Each feather consists of three parts, the 
shaft or quill, which is the central stiff 

Feathers help birds to endure the cold 

stem of the feather, giving it strength. 
From this quill come off the barbs which, 
toward the outer end, join together in 
a smooth web, making the thin, fanlike 
portion of the feather; at the base is the 
fluff, which is soft and downy and near 
to the body of the fowl. The teacher 


should put on the blackboard this figure 
so that incidentally the pupils may learn 
the parts of a feather and their struc- 
ture. If a microscope is available, show 
both the web and the fluff of a feather 
under a three-fourths objective. 

The feathers on the back of a hen are 
longer and narrower in proportion than 
those on the breast and are especially fit- 
ted to protect the back from rain; the 
breast feathers are shorter and have more 
of the fluff, thus protecting the breast 
from the cold as well as the rain. It is plain 
to any child that the soft fluff is com- 
parable to our underclothing while the 
smooth, overlapping web forms a rain- 
and wind-proof outer coat. Down is a 
feather with no quill; young chicks are 
covered with down. A pin-feather is simply 
a young feather rolled up in a sheath, 
which bursts later and is shed, leaving the 
feather free to assume its form. Take a 
large pin-feather and cut the sheath open 
and show the pupils the young feather 
lying within. 

When a hen oils her feathers it is a 
process well worth observing. The oil 
gland is on her back just at the base of 
the tail feathers; she squeezes the gland 
with her beak to get the oil and then 
rubs the beak over the surface of her 


hen oils her feathers it is a sure sign of 
rain. The hen sheds her feathers once a 
year and is a most untidy looking bird 
meanwhile, a fact that she seems to real- 
ize, for she is as shy and cross as a young 
lady caught in company with her hair in 
curlers; but she seems very pleased with 

Young pelicans are born naked, but are soon 
covered with white down 

feathers and passes them through it; she 
spends more time oiling the feathers on 
her back and breast than those on the 
other parts, so that they will surely shed 
water. Country people say that when the 

J. E. Rice 

Feathers of a rooster, showing their relative 
size, shape, and position 

1, neck hackle; 2, breast; 3, wing shoulder covert; 4, 
wing flight covert ; 5, wing primary ; 6, wing .secondary ; 
7, wing covert; 8, back; 9, tail covert; 10, main tail; 
11, fluff; 12, thigh; 13, saddle hackle; 14, the sickle or 
feather of beauty ; 15, lesser sickle 

herself when she finally gains her new 

by Fannie H. Eckstorm; Bird Friends, by 
Gilbert H. Trafton; Bird Life, by Frank 
M. Chapman; Birds and Their Attributes, 
by Glover M. Allen; The Book of Bird 
Life, by A. A. Allen; The Children's Book 
of Birds (First Book of Birds and Second 
Book of Birds), by Olive Thome Miller; 
Nature by Seaside and Wayside, by 
Mary G. Phillips and Julia M. Wright, 
Book 3, Plants and Animals. 



LEADING THOUGHT Feathers grow 
from the skin of a bird and protect the 
bird from rain, snow, wind, and cold. 
Some of the feathers act as cloaks or 


mackintoshes and others as undercloth- 

METHOD The hen should be at close 
range for this lesson where the children 
may observe how and where the different 
kinds of feathers grow. The pupils should 
also study separately the form of a feather 
from the back, from the breast, from the 
under side of the body, and a pin-feather. 

are the feathers arranged on the back of 
the hen? Are they like shingles on the 

2. How does a hen look when standing 
in the rain? 

3. How are the feathers arranged on 
the breast? 

4. Compare a feather from the back 
and one from the breast and note the 

5. Are both ends of these feathers alike? 
If not, what is the difference? 

6. Is the fluffy part of the feather on 

3 1 

the outside or next to the bird's skin? 
What is its use? 

7. Why is the smooth part of the 
feather (the web) on the outside? 

8. Some feathers are all fluff and are 
called " down/' At what age was the fowl 
all covered with down? 

9. What is a pin-feather? Why do you 
think it is so called? 

10. How do hens keep their feathers 
oily and glossy so they will shed water? 

11. Where does the hen get the oil? 
Describe how she oils her feathers; which 
ones does she oil most? Does she oil her 
feathers before a rain? 

" How beautiful your feathers be/ " 
The Redbird sang to the Tulip-tree 

New garbed in autumn gold. 
" Alas/ " the bending branches sighed, 
" They cannot like your leaves abide 
To keep us from the cold/ " 



The ornamental plumage of birds is 
one of the principal illustrations of a great 
principle of evolution. The theory is that 
the male birds win their mates because 
of their beauty, those that are not beauti- 
ful being doomed to live single and leave 
no progeny to inherit their dullness. On 
the other hand, the successful wooer 
hands down his beauty to his sons. How- 
ever, another quite different principle acts 
upon the coloring of the plumage of the 
mother birds; for if they should develop 
bright colors themselves, they would at- 
tract the eyes of the enemy to their pre- 
cious hidden nests; only by being incon- 
spicuous are they able to protect their 
eggs and nestlings from discovery and 
death. The mother partridge, for instance, 
is so nearly the color of the dead leaves on 
the ground about her that we may almost 
step upon her before we discover her; if 
she were the color of the male oriole or 
tanager she would very soon be the center 
of attraction to every prowler. Thus it has 

come about that among the birds the male 
has developed gorgeous colors which at- 
tract the female, while the female has 
kept modest, unnoticeable plumage. 

Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr. 

Not a candidate for a beauty contest. A young 
belted kingfisher clothed in pin feathers 

The curved feathers of the rooster's 
tail are weak and mobile and could not 
possibly be of any use as a rudder; but 

3 2 

they give grace and beauty to the fowl 
and cover the useful rudder feathers un- 
derneath by a feather fountain of irides- 
cence. The neck plumage of the cock 

Peacock feathers. Is beauty use, 

is also often luxurious and beautiful in 
color and quite different from that of 
the hen. Among the Rouen ducks the 
brilliant blue-green iridescent head of the 
drake and his wing bars are beautiful, and 
make his wife seem Quaker-like in con- 

As an object lesson to instill the idea 
that the male bird is proud of his beautiful 
feathers, I know of none better than that 
presented by the turkey gobbler, for he 
is a living expression of self-conscious van- 
ity. He spreads his tail to the fullest extent 
and shifts it this way and that to show the 
exquisite play of colors over the feathers 
in the sunlight, meanwhile throwing out 
his chest to call particular attention to his 
blue and red wattles; and to keep from 
bursting with pride he bubbles over in 
vainglorious " gobbles." 

The hen with her chicks and the turkey 
hen with her brood, if they follow their 
own natures, must wandei in the fields for 
food. If they were bright in color, the 
hawks would soon detect them and their 
chances of escape would be small; this is 
an instance of the advantage to the young 
of adopting the colors of the mother 
rather than of the father; a fact equally 
true of the song birds in cases where the 
males are brilliant in color at maturity. 
The male Baltimore oriole does not assist 
his mate in brooding, but he sits some- 
where on the home tree and cheers her by 
his glorious song and by glimpses of his 
gleaming orange coat. Some have accused 
him of being lazy; on the contrary, he is 


a wise householder, for, instead of attract- 
ing the attention of crow or squirrel to his 
nest, he distracts their attention from it 
by both color and song. 

A peacock's feather should really be a 
lesson by itself, it is so much a thing of 
beauty. The brilliant color of the purple 
eye-spot, and the graceful flowing barbs 
that form the setting to the central gem, 
are all a training in aesthetics as well as 
in nature-study. After the children have 
studied such a feather let them see the 
peacock, either in reality or in picture, and 
give them stories about this bird of Juno 
a bird so inconspicuous, except for his 
great spread of tail, that a child seeing 
him for the first time cried, " Oh, oh, see 
this old hen all in bloom! " 

The whole question of sexual selection 
may be made as plain as need be for the 
little folks, by simply telling them that 
the mother bird chooses for her mate the 
one which is most brightly and beautifully 
dressed; make much of the comb and wat- 
tles of the rooster and gobbler as additions 
to the brilliancy of their appearance. 

reading for " Feathers as Clothing." 


feathers and often their shape make some 
birds more beautiful; while in others, the 
color of the feathers serves to protect 
them from the observation of their ene- 

METHOD While parts of this lesson 
relating to fowls may be given in primary 
grades, it is equally fitted for pupils who 
have a wider knowledge of birds. Begin 
with a comparison of the plumage of the 
hen and the rooster. Then, if possible, 
study the turkey gobbler and a peacock in 
life or in pictures. Also the plumage of a 
Rouen duck and drake, and if possible, 
the Baltimore oriole, the goldfinch, the 
scarlet tanager, and the cardinal. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Note the difference 
in shape and color of the tail feathers of 
hen and rooster. 


2. Do the graceful curved tail feathers 
of the rooster help him in flying? Are they 
stiff enough to act as a rudder? 

3. If not of use in flying what are they 
for? Which do you think the more beauti- 
ful the hen or the rooster? 

4. In what respects is the rooster a more 
beautiful fowl? 

5. What other parts of the rooster's 
plumage are more beautiful than that of 
the hen? 

6. If a turkey gobbler sees you looking 
at him he begins to strut. Do you think 
he does this to show off his tail feathers? 
Note how he turns his spread tail this way 
and that so the sunshine will bring out 
the beautiful changeable colors. Do you 
think he does this so you can see and ad- 
mire him? 

7. Describe the difference in plumage 
between the hen turkey and the gobbler. 
Does the hen turkey strut? 

8. Note the beautiful blue-green irides- 
cent head and wing patches on the wings 
of the Rouen ducks. Is the drake more 
beautiful than the duck? 

9. What advantage is it for these fowls 
to have the father bird more beautiful and 
bright in color than the mother bird? 

10. In the case of the Baltimore oriole, 
is the mother bird as bright in color as the 
father bird? 

11. Study a peacock's feather. What 


color is the eye-spot? What color around 
that? What 'color around that? What 
color and shape are the outside barbs of 
the feather? Do you blame a peacock for 
being proud when he can spread a tail of 
a hundred eyes? Does the peahen have 
such beautiful tail feathers as the peacock? 

The bird of Juno glories in his plumes; 

Pride makes the fowl to preene his feath- 
ers so. 

His spotted train fetched from old Argus' 

With golden rays like to the brightest sun, 

Inserteth self-love in the silly bird; 

Till midst its hot and glorious fumes 

He spies his feet and then lets fall his 



To convince the children that a bird's 
wings correspond to our arms, they should 
see a fowl with its feathers off, prepared 
for market or oven, and they will infer 
the fact at once. 

The bird flies by lifting itself through 
pressing down upon the air with its wings. 
There are several experiments which are 
needed to make the child understand this. 
It is difficult for children to conceive that 
the air is really anything, because they can- 
not see it; so the first experiment should 
be to show that the air is something we 
can push against or that pushes against us. 

Strike the air with a fan and we feel there 
is something which the fan pushes; we 
feel the wind when it is blowing and it is 
very difficult for us to walk against a hard 
wind. If we hold an open umbrella in the 
hand while we jump from a step, we feel 
buoyed up because the air presses up 
against the umbrella. The air presses up 
against the wings of the birds just as it 
does against the open umbrella. The bird 
flies by pressing down upon the air with 
its wings just as a boy jumps high by 
pressing down with his hands on his vault- 
ing pole. 



Study wing and note: (a) That the 
wings open and close at the will of the 
bird, (b) That the feathers open and shut 
on each other like a fan. (c) When the 
wing is open the wing quills overlap, so 

Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr. 

Common tern. While we are having winter 
this bird spends the summer in South Amer- 
ica. It will return to spend our summer with 

that the air cannot pass through them. 
(d) When the wing is open it is curved 
so that it is more efficient, for the same 
reason that an umbrella presses harder 
against the atmosphere when it is open 
than when it is broken by the wind and 
turned wrong side out. 

A wing feather has the barbs on the 
front edge lying almost parallel to the 
quill, while those on the hind edge come 
off at a wide angle. The reason for this 
is easy to see, for this feather has to cut 
the air as the bird flies; and if the barbs on 
the front side were like those of the other 
side, they would be torn apart by the 
wind. The barbs on the hind side of the 
feather form a strong, close web so as to 
press down on the air and not let it 
through. The wing quill is curved; the 
convex side is up and the concave side 
below during flight. The concave side, 
like the umbrella, catches more air than 
the upper side; the down stroke of the 
wings is forward and down; while on the 
up stroke, as the wing is lifted, it bends 
at the joint like a fan turned sidewise, and 
offers less surface to resist the air. Thus, 
the up stroke does not push the bird down. 

Observations should be made on the 
use of the bird's tail in flight. The hen 

spreads her tail like a fan when she flies 
to the top of the fence; the robin does 
likewise when in flight. The fact that the 
tail is used as a rudder to guide the bird 
in flight, as well as to give more surface 
for pressing down upon the air, is hard for 
the younger pupils to understand, and 
perhaps can be best taught by watch- 
ing the erratic unbalanced flight of young 
birds whose tail feathers are not yet 

The tail feather differs from the wing 
feather in that the quill is not curved, and 
the barbs on each side are of about equal 
length and lie at about the same angle on 
each side of the quill. See Fig. p. 30. 

by Fannie H. Eckstorm; Bird Flight, by 
Gordon C. Aymar; Bird Life, by Frank M. 
Chapman; Birds and Their Attributes, by 
Glover M. Allen; The Book of Bird Life, 
by A. A. Allen; The Children's Boole of 
Birds ( First Book of Birds and Second 
Book of Birds), by Olive Thorne Miller; 
Nature by Seaside and Wayside, by 
Mary G. Phillips and Julia M. Wright, 
Book 3, Plants and Animals. 


LEADING THOUGHT A bird flies by 
pressing down upon the air with its wings, 
which are made especially for this pur- 
pose. The bird's tail acts as a rudder dur- 
ing flight. 

METHOD The hen, it is hoped, will 
by this time be tame enough so that the 
teacher may spread open her wings for 
the children to see. In addition, have a 
detached wing of a fowl such as is used in 
farmhouses instead of a whisk-broom. 

OBSERVATIONS i . Do you think a 
bird's wings correspond to our arms? If 
so why? 

2. Why do birds flap their wings when 
they start to fly? 

3. Can you press against the air with 
a fan? 

4. Why do you jump so high with a 
vaulting pole? Do you think the bird uses 
the air as you use the pole? 


5. How are the feathers arranged on the 
wing so that the bird can use it to press 
on the air? 

6. If you carry an umbrella on a windy 
morning, which catches more wind, the 
under or the top side? Why is this? Does 
the curved surface of the wing act in the 
same way? 

7. Take a wing feather. Are the barbs 
as long on one side of the quill as on the 
other? Do they lie at the same angle from 
the quill on both sides? If not why? 

8. Which side of the quill lies on the 
outer side and which on the inner side of 
the wing? 

9. Is the quill of the feather curved? 

10. Which side is uppermost in the 
wing, the convex or the concave side? 
Take a quill in one hand and press the 
tip against the other hand. Which way 
does it bend more easily, toward the con- 

vex or the concave side? What has this to 
do with the flight of the bird? 

^11. If trie bird flies by pressing the 
wings against the air on the down stroke, 
why does it not push itself downward with 
its wings on the up stroke? 

12. What is the shape and arrangement 
of the feathers which prevent pushing the 
bird back to earth when it lifts its wings? 

13. Why do you have a rudder to a 

14. Do you think a bird could sail 
through the air without something to steer 
with? What is the bird's rudder? 

15. Have you ever seen a young bird 
whose tail is not yet grown, try to fly? 
If so, how did it act? 

16. Does the hen when she flies keep 
the tail closed or open like a fan? 

17. Compare a tail feather with a wing 
feather and describe the difference. 


The travelogues of birds are as fascinat- 
ing as our favorite stories of fairies, ad- 
venture, and fiction. If we could accom- 
pany certain birds, such as the Arctic 
terns, on their spring and autumn trips, 
the logs of the trips would be far more ex- 
citing than some recorded by famous avia- 
tors. The Arctic tern seems to hold the 
record for long-distance flight. Its nest is 
made within the bounds of the Arctic cir- 
cle and its winter home is in the region of 
the Antarctic circle. The round-trip mile- 
age for this bird during a year is about 
22,000 miles. Wells W. Cooke, a pioneer 
student of bird migration, has called atten- 
tion to the interesting fact that the Arctic 
tern " has more hours of daylight than any 
other animal on the globe. At the north- 
ern nesting-site the midnight sun has 
already appeared before the birds' arrival, 
and it never sets during their entire 
stay at the breeding grounds. During two 
months of their sojourn in the Antarctic 
the birds do not see a sunset, and for the 
rest of the time the sun dips only a little 
way below the horizon and broad day- 

light is continuous. The birds, therefore, 
have twenty-four hours of daylight for at 
least eight months in the year, and during 
the other four months have considerably 
more daylight than darkness." It is true 
that few of our birds take such long trips 
as does the Arctic tern; but most birds do 
travel for some distance each spring and 

Each season brings to our attention cer- 
tain changes in the bird population. Dur- 
ing late summer, we see great flocks of 
swallows; they are on telephone or tele- 
graph wires, wire fences, clothes lines, or 
aerial wires. They twitter and flutter and 
seem all excited. For a few days, as they 
prepare for their southern journey, they 
are seen in such groups, and then are 
seen no more until the following spring. 
Some birds do not gather in flocks before 
leaving for the winter; they just disappear 
and we scarcely know when they go. We 
may hear their call notes far over our 
heads as they wing their way to theii 
winter homes. Some birds migrate only 
during the day, others go only during the 

3 6 


night, and others may travel by either day 
or night. 

Those birds that do not migrate are 
called permanent residents. In the east- 
ern United States chickadees, jays ? downy 

After Cooke 

The migration routes of the golden plover. 
The dotted area is the summer home and 
nesting place; the black area is the winter 
home. Migration routes are indicated by ar- 
rows. On the southern route the plover makes 
a flight of 2,400 miles from Labrador to South 

woodpeckers, nuthatches, grouse, and 
pheasants are typical examples of the per- 
manent resident group. These birds must 
be able to secure food under even the 
most adverse conditions. Much of their 
food is insect life found in or about trees; 
some fruits and buds of trees, shrubs, and 
vines are also included in their diet. 

Birds that travel are called migratory 
birds. If the spring migrants remain with 
us for the summer, we call them our sum- 
mer residents. Fall migrants that remain 
with us for the winter are called winter 
residents. The migrants that do not re- 
main with us but pass on to spend the 
summer or winter in some other area are 
called our transients or visitors. Of course, 
we must remember that the birds which 
visit us only for a short time are summer 
residents and winter residents in other 

parts of the country. Our summer resi- 
dents are the winter residents of some 
other area. 

In spring we await with interest the 
arrival of the first migrants. These birds 
are, in general, those which have spent 
the winter only a comparatively short dis- 
tance away. In the eastern United States, 
we expect robins, red-winged blackbirds, 
song sparrows, and bluebirds among the 
earliest migrants. In many species the 
males arrive first; they may come as much 
as two weeks ahead of the females. The 
immature birds are usually the last to ar- 
rive. The time of arrival of the first mi- 
grants is determined somewhat by weather 
conditions; their dates cannot be pre- 
dicted with as much accuracy as can those 
of birds which, having spent the winter at 
a greater distance from us, arrive later 
when the weather is more favorable. In 
some places, for example at Ithaca, New 
York, bird records have been kept each 
season for more than thirty years. With 
the information from these records, it is 
possible to indicate almost to a day when 
certain birds, such as barn swallows, ori- 
oles, or hummingbirds, may be expected 
to arrive. Usually the very first birds of a 
kind to arrive are those individuals which 
will within a few days continue their 
northward journey. The later arrivals are 
usually those that remain to become sum- 
mer residents. In some species all indi- 
viduals are migrants; for southern New 
York the white-throated sparrow is repre- 
sentative of such a group. It winters far- 
ther south and nests farther north than 
southern New York. 

Why do birds migrate? This question 
has often been asked; but in answer to 
it we must say that while we know much 
about where birds go and how fast they 
travel, we still know actually very little 
about the reasons for their regular seasonal 

As the airplane pilot has man-made in- 
struments to aid him in reaching a certain 
airport, so the birds have a well-developed 
sense of direction which guides them to 
their destination. Each kind of bird 
seems, in general, to take the route fol- 



lowed by its ancestors; but this route edited by Gilbert Grosvenor and Alex- 
may be varied if for any reason food ander Wetmore; The Children's Boot of 
should become scarce along the way. Such Birds ( First Book of Birds and Second 
routes are so exactly followed year after Book of Birds), by Olive Thorne Miller; 
year that they are known as laiies of mi- Flight Speed of Birds, by May Thacher 
gration. Persons desiring to study a cer- Cooke (U. S. Department of Agriculture, 
tain species of bird can have excellent op- 
portunities to do so by being at some 
good vantage point along this lane. Some- 
times undue advantage has been taken of 
certain birds, especially hawks. Persons 
desiring to kill these birds have collected 
at strategic points along the lanes and 
wantonly killed many of them. As a result 
of such activities sanctuaries have been 
established at certain places along the 
lanes to give added protection to birds. 

The routes north and south followed 
by a given species of bird may lead 
over entirely different parts of the country; 
these are called double migration routes. 
They may vary so much that one route 
may lead chiefly over land while the other 
may lead over the ocean. The golden 
plover is an example of such a case. See 
the migration map. 

Much valuable information as well as 
pleasure can be gained from keeping a 
calendar of migration and other activities 
of birds. It is especially interesting dur- 
ing the spring months when first arrivals 
are recorded if daily lists are made of all 
species observed. In summer, nesting ac- 
tivities and special studies of an individual 

species provide something of interest for Circular 428); The Migration of North 
each day. More pleasure can be derived American Birds, by Frederick C. Lincoln 
from the hobby if several people take it (U. S. Department of Agriculture, Circu- 
up and compare their findings. Interests lar 363); Nature by Seaside and Way- 
in photography, sketching, or nature-story side, by Mary G. Phillips and Julia M. 
writing are natural companions of such Wright, Book 3, Plants and Animals; Our 
bird study. Winter Birds, by Frank M. Chapman; 

SUGGESTED READING Bird Friends, by Pathways in Science, by Gerald S. Craig 
Gilbert H. Trafton; Bird Life, by Frank and Co-authors, Book 2, Out-of-doors, 
M. Chapman; Birds and Their Attributes, Book 5, Learning about Our World; The 
by Glover M. Allen; Birds of America, ed- Stir of Nature, by William H. Can; Trav- 
ited by T. Gilbert Pearson; Birds of New eling with the Birds, by Rudyerd Boulton; 
York, by E. H. Eaton; The Boole of Bird The Travels of Birds, by Frank M. Chap- 
Life, by A. A. Allen; The Book of Birds, man. 

General Biological Supply House, Chicago 

The travels of the bobolink. The migration 
routes 0) the bobolink are shorter than those 
of the plover and follow land more closely 



The hen's eyes are placed at the side 
of the head so that she cannot see the 
same object with both eyes at the same 
time, and thus she has the habit of looking 
at us first with one eye and then the other 
to be sure she sees correctly. The position 
of the hen's eyes gives her a command of 
her entire environment. All birds have 
much keener eyes than we have; and they 
can adjust their eyes for either near or 
far vision much more effectively than we 
can; some hawks, flying high in the air, 
can see mice on the ground. 

A wide range of colors is found in the 
eyes of birds: white, red, blue, yellow, 
brown, gray, pink, purple, and green are 
found in the iris of different species. The 

Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr. 

A duck hawk. Notice the strong hooked 
beak, the keen eye, and the prominent 

hen's eye consists of a black pupil at the 
center, which must always be black in 
any eye, since it is a hole through which 
enters the image of the object. The iris of 
the hen's eye is yellow; there is apparently 
no upper lid, but the lower lid comes up 
during the process of sleeping. When the 
bird is drowsy the little film lid comes 

out from the corner of the eye and spreads 
over it like a veil; just at the corner of our 
own eye, next the nose, is the remains of 
this film lid, although we cannot move it 
as the hen does. 

The hearing of birds is very acute, al- 
though in most cases the ear is simply 
a hole in the side of the head, and is more 
or less covered with feathers. The hen's 
ear is like this in many varieties of chick- 
ens; but in others and in the roosters there 
are ornamental ear lobes. 

Boole of Birds ( First Book of Birds and 
Second Book of Birds), by Olive Thorne 


LEADING THOUGHT The eyes and ears 
of birds are peculiar and very efficient. 

METHOD - The hen or chicken and the 
rooster should be observed for this lesson; 
notes may be made in the poultry yard or 
in the schoolroom when the birds are 
brought there for study. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Why does the hen 
turn her head first this side and then that 
as she looks at you? Can she see an object 
with both eyes at once? Can she see well? 

2. How many colors are there in a hen's 
eye? Describe the pupil and the iris. 

3. Does the hen wink as we do? Has 
she any eyelids? 

4. Can you see the film lid? Does it 
come from above or below or the inner or 
outer corner? When do you see this film 

5. Where are the hen's ears? How do 
they look? How can you tell where the 
rooster's ears are? 

6. Do you think the hen can see and 
hear well? 




Since the bird uses its arms and hands 
for flying, it has been obliged to develop 
other organs to take their place, and of 
their work the beak does its full share. It 
is well to emphasize this point by letting 
the children at recess play the game of 
trying to eat an apple or to put up their 
books and pencils with their arms tied 
behind them; such, an experiment will 
show how naturally the teeth and feet 
come to the aid when the hands are use- 

The hen feeds upon seeds and insects 
which she finds on or in the ground; her 
beak is horny and sharp and acts not only 
as a pair of nippers, but also as a pick as 
she strikes it into the soil to get the seed 

A. A. Allen 

A red-eyed vireo repairing her nest 

or insect. She has already made the place 
bare by scratching away the grass or sur- 
face of the soil with her strong, stubby 
toes. The hen does not have any teeth, 
nor does she need any, for her sharp beak 
enables her to seize her food; and she 
does not need to chew it, since her gizzard 
does this for her after the food is swal- 

The duck's bill is broad, flat, and much 
softer than the hen's beak. The duck feeds 
upon water insects and plants; it obtains 
these by thrusting its head down into the 
water, seizing the food, and holding it 

fast while the water is strained out through 
the sieve at the edges of the beak; for this 
use, a wide, flat beak is necessary. It would 
be quite as impossible for a duck to pick 
up hard seeds with its broad, soft bill as it 
would for the hen to get the duck's food 

Leonard K. Beyer 

These holes were made by a pileated wood- 
pecker in search of insects 

out of the water with her narrow, horny 

Both the duck and hen use their bills 
for cleaning and oiling their feathers and 
for fighting also; the hen strikes a sharp 
blow with her beak, making a wound like 
a dagger, while the duck seizes the enemy 
and simply pinches hard. Both fowls also 
use their beaks for turning over the eggs 
when incubating, and also as an aid to the 
feet when they make nests for themselves. 

The nostrils are very noticeable and are 
situated in the beak near the base. How- 
ever, we do not believe that birds have a 
keen sense of smell, since their nostrils are 
not surrounded by a damp, sensitive, soft 
surface as are the nostrils of the deer and 
dog. This arrangement aids these animals 
to detect odor in a marvelous manner. 

by Fannie H. Eckstorm; Bird Life, by 



Frank M. Chapman; The Book of Bird 
Life, by A, A. Allen; The Boole of Birds, 
edited "by Gilbert Grosvenor and Alex- 
ander Wetmore; The Children's Book of 
Birds (First Book of Birds and Second 
Book of Birds), by Olive Thorne Miller; 
Nature by Seaside and Wayside, by 
Mary G. Phillips and Julia M. Wright, 
Book 3, Plants and Animals. 


LEADING THOUGHT Each kind of bird 
has a beak especially adapted for getting 
its food. The beak and feet of a bird are 
its chief weapons and implements. 

METHOD Study first the beak of the 
hen or chick and then that of the duckling 
or gosling. 

OBSERVATIONS i . What kind of food 
does the hen eat and where and how does 
she find it in the field or garden? How is 
her beak adapted to get this food? If her 
beak were soft like that of a duck could 
she peck so hard for seeds and worms? 
Has the hen any teeth? Does she need 

2. Compare the bill of the hen with 
that of the duck. What are the differ- 
ences in shape? Which is the harder? 

3. Note the saw teeth along the edge 
of the duck's bill. Are these for chewing? 
Do they act as a strainer? Why does the 
duck need to strain its food? 

4. Could a duck pick up a hen's food 
from the earth or the hen strain out a 
duck's food from the water? For what 
other things than getting food do these 
fowls use their bills? 

5. Can you see the nostrils in the bill 
of a hen? Do they show plainer in the 
duck? Do you think the hen can smell as 
keenly as the duck? 

It is said that nature-study teaching 
should be accurate, a statement that every 
good teacher will admit without debate; 
but accuracy is often interpreted to mean 
completeness, and then the statement 
cannot pass unchallenged. To study " the 
dandelion" " the robin/ 7 with emphasis 
on the particle " the/' working out the 
complete structure, may be good labora- 
tory work in botany or zoology for ad- 
vanced pupils, but it is not an elementary 
educational process. It contributes noth- 
ing more to accuracy than does the natural 
order of leaving untouched all those 
phases of the subject that are out of the 
child's reach; while it may take out the 
life and spirit of the work, and the spiritual 
quality may be the very part that is most 
worth the while. Other work may provide 
the formal " drill "; this should supply the 
quality and vivacity. Teachers often say to 
me that their children have done excellent 
work with these complete methods, and 
they show me the essays and drawings; 
but this is no proof that the work is com- 
mendable. Children can be made to do 
many things that they ought not to do and 
that lie beyond them. We all need to go 
to school to children. " THE OUTLOOK 

Weather and wind and waning moon, 

Plain and hilltop under the sky, 
Ev'ning, morning and blazing noon, 

Brother of all the world am 1. 
The pine-tree, linden and the maize, 

The insect, squirrel and the kine, 
All natively they live their days 

As they live theirs, so I live mine, 
I know not where, I know not what: 

Believing none and doubting none 
Whatever befalls it counteth not, 

Nature and Time and I are one. 



Obviously, the hen is a digger of the 
soil; her claws are long, strong, and slightly 
hooked, and her feet and legs are covered 
with horny scales. These scales protect her 

feet from injury when they are used in 
scratching the hard earth to lay bare the 
seeds and insects hiding there. The hen 
is a very good runner indeed. She lifts 


4 1 

her wings a little to help, much as an 
athletic runner uses his arms, and so can 
cover ground with amazing rapidity, her 
strong toes giving her a firm foothold. The 
track she makes is very characteristic; it 
consists of three toe-marks projecting for- 
ward and one backward. A bird's toes are 
numbered thus: the hind toe is number 
one, the inner toe number two, the mid- 
dle toe three, and the outer toe four. 

Duck's foot and hen's foot with 
toes numbered 

A duck has the same number of toes as 
the hen, but there is a membrane, called 
the web, which joins the second, third, 
and fourth toes, making a fan-shaped foot; 
the first or hind toe has a little web of 
its own. A webbed foot is first of all a 
paddle for propelling its owner through 
the water; it is also a very useful foot on 
the shores of ponds and streams, since its 
breadth and flatness prevent it from sink- 
ing into the soft mud. 

The duck's legs are shorter than those 
of the hen and are placed farther back 
and wider apart. They are essentially 
swimming organs and are not fitted for 
scratching or for running. They are 
placed at the sides of the bird's body so 
that they may act as paddles, and are 
farther back so that they may act like the 
wheel of a propeller in pushing the bird 
along. We often laugh at a duck on land, 
since its short legs are so far apart and so 
far back that its walk is necessarily an awk- 
ward waddle; but we must always remem- 
ber that the duck is naturally a water bird, 
and on the water its movements are grace- 
ful. Think how a hen would appear if 
she attempted to swim! The duck's body 
is so poorly balanced on its short legs that 
it cannot run rapidly; and if chased even 
a short distance it will fall dead from the 
effort, as many a country child has dis- 
covered to his sorrow when he tried to 
drive the ducks home from the creek or 

pond to coop. The long hind claw of the 
hen enables her to clasp a roost firmly 
during the night; a duck's foot could not 
do this and the duck sleeps squatting on 


General Biological Supply House, Chicago 

Types oj bills and feet 

the ground. However, the Muscovy ducks, 
which are not good swimmers, have been 
known to perch. 

by Fannie H. Eckstorm; Bird Life, by 
Frank M. Chapman; Birds and Their At- 
tributes, by Glover M. Allen; The Book of 
Bird Life, by A. A. Allen; The Children's 
Boole of Birds (First Book of Birds and 
Second Book of Birds), by Olive Thorne 
Miller; Nature by Seaside and Wayside, 
by Mary G, Phillips and Julia M. Wright, 
Book 3, Plants and Animals. 

LEADING THOUGHT The feet of birds 
are shaped so as to assist the bird in get- 
ting its food as well as for locomotion. 
METHOD The pupils should have op- 


portunity to observe the chicken or hen 
and a duck as they move about; they 
should also observe the duck swimming. 
OBSERVATIONS i. Are the toes of the 
hen long and strong? Have they long, 
sharp claws at their tips? 

2. How are the legs and feet of the 
hen covered and protected? 

3. How are the hen's feet and legs fitted 
for scratching the earth, and why does she 
wish to scratch the earth? 

4. Can a hen run rapidly? What sort of 
track does she make? 

5. You number your fingers with the 
thumb as number one and the little finger 
as five. How do you think the hen's toes 
are numbered? 

6. Has the duck as many toes as the 
hen? What is the chief difference between 
the feet of the duck and of the hen? 

7. Which of the duck's toes are con- 
nected by a web? Does the web extend to 
the tips of the toes? How does the web 
help the duck? 

8. Are the duck's legs as long as the 
hen's? Are they placed farther forward or 
farther back than those of the hen? Are 
they farther apart? 

9. Can a duck run as well as a hen? Can 
the hen swim at all? 

10. Where does the hen sleep and how 
does she hold on to her perch? Could the 
duck hold on to a perch? Does the duck 
need to perch while sleeping? 


Anyone who attempts to recognize 
birds by sight alone misses much of the 
pleasure that comes to those who have 

.Wood Thrushes. 

A-. O|ivc -b<w.ke4 Thru*/*. 

J-.32. r 

* , J&l 


"*' ( $<s) <Cflne*verO 

taken the time and pains to learn bird 
songs and use them as a means of bird 
recognition. It is true that not all people 
have a talent for music; but anyone in- 
terested in birds can learn to identify the 
songs and most of the call notes of com- 
mon birds. 

The observer will notice that in most 
cases only the male bird sings, but a few 
exceptions are recorded, notably the fe- 
male rose-breasted grosbeak and cardinal 
grosbeak, which sing under some condi- 
tions. Birds do most of their singing in the 
early morning and during the spring and 
early summer months. The male birds 
have not only a favorite time of day and 
a particular season of the year during 
which they do most of their singing, but 
they even have a certain perch or narrowly 
defined territory from which they sing. 

Each person will need to decide how he 
can best remember bird songs. Most peo- 
ple will doubtless use such methods as 
were used by earlier bird students. Long 
literary descriptions were given for each 
song. Alexander Wilson, for instance, de- 
scribes the call of the male blue jay as 
" repeated creakings of an ungreased 
wheelbarrow." Often the call of a particu- 
lar bird is put into words; in many cases 
these words have come to be accepted as 
the common name of the bird, such as 
bobwhite and whip-poor-will. The imagi- 
nation of students may suggest certain 
words to represent the song or call notes 
of a bird. These are often more easily re- 
membered than the song itself. 

Some ornithologists have developed 


complicated systems of recording bird 
songs as musical scores. Wilson Flagg and 
F. S. Mathews are well-known names in 
this field. Such a method has its limita- 
tions because many variations of bird 
songs cannot be indicated by the charac- 
ters used in writing music. The song of a 
bird written as music is not usually recog- 
nizable when played on a musical instru- 
ment. Other ornithologists have devel- 
oped more graphic methods of recording 
bird songs. One leader in this field, A. A. 
Saunders, has proposed and used a system 
employing lines, dots ? dashes, and sylla- 
bles. This system is very interesting and is 
a useful one to a person who has a good 
ear for music. One of the latest methods 
of recording bird songs has been devel- 
oped by the Department of Ornithology, 
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. By 


this method bird songs are photographed 
on moving picture film and later may be 
recorded on phonograph records; these 
records can be played over and over again 
to give the student practice in identifying 
bird songs. Sound pictures have also been 
produced; the pictures of the various birds 
are shown on the screen as their songs are 
being heard by the audience. 

Gilbert H. Trafton; Birds and Their Attri- 
butes, by Glover M. Allen; The Boole of 
Bird Life, by A. A. Allen; The Bool: of 
Birds, edited by Gilbert Grosvenor and 
Alexander Wetmore; Field Boot of Wild 
Birds and Their Music, by F. Schuyler 
Mathews; A Guide to Bird Songs, by 
Aretas A. Saunders; Songs of Wild Birds 
and More Songs of Wild Birds, by Albert 
R. Brand. 


If suitable and sufficient food, water, 
shelter, and nesting sites are provided, and 
if protection is given from such enemies 
as cats and thoughtless men, it is possi- 
ble to attract many kinds of birds to 
home grounds or gardens. The most logi- 
cal time to begin to attract birds is during 
the winter months; but the best time is 
whenever one is really interested and is 
willing to provide the things most needed 
by the birds. Certain types of food, such 
as suet or sunflower seeds, are sought by 
birds at any season. During the summer 
months water for drinking and bathing 
may be more desired than food, but in 
the winter almost any seeds, fruits, or 
fatty foods are welcome. 

In the spring nesting boxes properly 
constructed and placed will do much to 
attract some kinds of birds, especially 
those that normally nest in holes in trees. 
An abundance of choice nesting materials 
will entice orioles, robins, or chipping 
sparrows to nest near by. Straws, sticks, 
feathers, cotton, strings, or even hairs 
from old mattresses may be put out as in- 
ducements to prospective bird tenants. 

An invitation to our garden friends to par- 
take of suet and peanuts in addition to their 
regular fare 

The spring is also a good time to plant 
fruit-bearing trees, shrubs, and vines; these 


A bird bath in the author's garden 

natural food counters become more attrac- 
tive each year as they grow larger and pro- 
duce more fruit and better nesting places 
for birds. 

Autumn is the ideal time to establish 
feeding centers to which the birds may be 
attracted during the winter months. Food, 
such as suet or seeds, should be put at a 
great many places throughout the area in 
which one wishes to attract birds. The 
birds will gradually work their way from 
one of these feedings points to another; 
soon it will be possible to concentrate the 
feeding at one point, and the birds will 
continue to come to that point as long 
as food is provided there. 

Attracting Birds, by Alvin M. Peterson; 
Bird Houses Boys Can Build, by Albert F. 
Siepert; Birds of the Wild How to 
Make Your Home Their Home, by Frank 
C. Pellett; Bird Study for Schools Series, 
published by the National Association of 
Audubon Societies (Part III, Winter 
Feeding, Part IV, Bird Houses); The 
Boole of Bird Life, by A. A. Allen; Boy 

Bird House Arcliitecfure, by Leon H. Bax- 
ter; The Children's Book of Birds (First 
Book of Birds and Second Book of Birds), 
by Olive Thorne Miller; Homes for Birds, 
by E. R. Kalmbach and W. L. McAtee 
(U. S. Department of Agriculture, Farm- 
ers' Bulletin 1456); How to Attract Birds 
in Northeastern United States, How to 
Attract Birds in Northwestern United 
States, How to Attract Birds in the Middle 
Atlantic States, How to Attract Birds in 
the East Central States, by W. L. McAtee 
(U. S. Department of Agriculture, Farm- 
ers' Bulletins 621, 760, 844, 912); How to 
Have Bird Neighbors, by S. Louise Patte- 
son; Our Winter Birds, by Frank M. 
Chapman; Permanent Bird Houses, by 
Gladstone Califf; Song-bird Sanctuaries, 
with Tables of Trees, Shrubs and Vines 
Attractive to Birds, by Roger T. Peterson; 
Wild Bird Guests, by Ernest H. Baynes; 
Methods of Attracting Birds, by Gilbert 
H. Trafton, 

Olin Sewall PetthifiiH, Jr. 

Ruby-throated hummingbird attracted to a 
vial containing sweetened water 




Did you ever try to calculate in dollars 
the pleasure that you receive from seeing 
or hearing the first spring migrants? The 
robin, bluebird, and meadowlark bring 
cheer to thousands of people every year. 
Indeed, it would be difficult to find any- 
one, except perhaps in large cities, who 
does not notice the arrival of at least 
some spring birds the robins on the 
lawn, the honk of the wild geese overhead, 
or the song sparrows as they sing from the 
top of a shrub. Birds are interesting to 
most people because of their mere pres- 
ence, their songs, their colors, or their 
habits. Persons engaged in nature-study 
are led outdoors and thus have opened to 
them many other nature fields. 

One needs to observe a bird for only 
a short time to discover for himself what 
has been known by scientists for many 
years, that birds are of great economic 
importance. Watch a chickadee or nut- 
hatch as it makes its feeding rounds on 
a winter day. Note how carefully each 
tiny branch is covered by the chickadee 
and what a thorough examination of the 
limbs and trunks is made by the nuthatch. 
Countless insect eggs as well as insects 
are consumed. On a sunny day in spring, 
observe the warblers as they feed about the 
newly opened leaves and blossoms of the 
trees. See them as they hunt tirelessly for 
their quota of the tiny insects so small 
that they are generally overlooked by 
larger birds. It must be remembered too 
that some birds do, at times, take a toll 
of cultivated crops; this is especially true 
of the seed-eating and insectivorous birds. 
But they deserve some pay for the work 
they do for man, and so in reality he should 
not begrudge them a little fruit or grain. 

Some of the birds of prey are active all 
the time; the hawks work in the daytime 
and the owls come on duty for the night 
shift. Countless destructive small mam- 
mals and insects are eaten by them; thus 
they tend to regulate the numbers of 
numerous small pests of field and wood, 

thereby preventing serious outbreaks of 
such animals. There has been much dis- 
cussion of the real economic status of 
hawks and owls; many food studies have 
been made and the general conclusion is 
that most species are more useful than 
harmful. It is true that some species do 
take a toll of game birds, song birds, and 
poultry; but they include also in their diet 
other animal forms, many of which are 
considered harmful. One individual bird 

Leonard K. Beyer 

A red-eyed vireo on her nest. Vireos live 
largely on insects gleaned jrom the under 
surfaces of leaves and jrom crevices in bark 

may be especially destructive and thus 
give a bad name to an entire species. 

There are even garbage gatherers among 
the birds; vultures, gulls, and crows serve 
in this capacity. The vultures are com- 
monly found in the warmer parts of the 
country and serve a most useful purpose 
by their habit of devouring the unburied 
bodies of dead animals. The gulls are the 
scavengers of waterways and shore lines. 
The crow is omnivorous that is, it eats 
both plant and animal food; but it seems 
to like carrion as well as fresh meat. 

The farmer and the gardener owe quite 
a debt of thanks to the birds that eat weed 
seeds. Of course there are still bountiful 
crops of weeds each year; but there would 

Verne Morton 

A goldfinch nest in winter 

be even more weeds if it were not for the 
army of such seed-eating birds as spar- 
rows, bobwhites ? and doves. 

The game birds, such as grouse, pheas- 
ant, and bobwhite are important today, 
chiefly from the standpoint of the recrea- 
tion they afford sportsmen and other 
lovers of the outdoors. The food habits of 
game birds do not present much of an 
economic problem; the birds are not nu- 
merous enough at the present time to be 
an important source of meat for man as 
they were in pioneer days. 

Thus, a brief consideration of a few 
types of birds will show even a casual 
observer that birds have economic import- 
ance and that each species seems to have 
a definite work to perform. 

Gilbert H. Trafton; Birds and Their At- 
tributes, by Glover M. Allen; Birds in 
Their Relation to Man, by Clarence M. 
Weed and Ned Dearborn; The Book of 
Bird Life, by A. A. Allen; The Book of 
Birds, edited by Gilbert Grosvenor and 
Alexander Wetmore; The Children's 
Book of Birds ( First Book of Birds and 
Second Book of Birds), by Olive Thorne 
Miller; The Practical Value of Birds, by 
Junius Henderson. 



There are very good reasons for not 
studying birds' nests in summer, since the 
birds misinterpret familiarity on the part 


of eager children and are likely, in con- 
sequence, to abandon both nest and lo- 
cality. But after the birds have gone to 
sunnier climes and the empty nests are 
the only mementos we have of them, then 
we may study these habitations carefully 
and learn how to appreciate properly 
the small architects which made them. 
I think that every one of us who care- 
fully examines the way that a nest is made 
must have a feeling of respect for its 
clever little builder. 

I know of certain schools where the 
children make large collections of these 
winter nests, properly labeling each, and 
thus gain a new interest in the bird life 
of their locality. A nest when collected 
should be labeled in the following man- 

The name of the bird which built the 

Where the nest was found. 

If in a tree, what kind? 

How high from the ground? 

After a collection of nests has been 
made, let the pupils study them accord- 
ing to the following outline: 

i. Where was the nest found? 

(a) If on the ground, describe the lo- 

(b) If on a plant, tree, or shrub, tell 
the species, if possible. 

(c) If on a tree, tell where it was on 
a branch in a fork, or hanging by the 
end of the twigs. 


Leonard K. Beyer 

A homemade wren house and its occupant 


(d) How high from the ground, and 
what was the locality? 

(e) If on or in a building, how situ- 

2. Did the nest have any arrangement 
to protect it from rain? 

3. Give the size of the nest, the di- 
ameter of the inside and the outside; also 
the depth of the inside. 

4. What is the form of the nest? Are 
its sides flaring or straight? Is the nest 
shaped like a cup, basket, or pocket? 

5. What materials compose the out- 
side of the nest and how are they ar- 

6. Of what materials is the lining made, 
and how are they arranged? If hair or 


feathers are used, on what creature did 
they grow? 

7. How are the materials of the nest 
held together, that is, are they woven, 
plastered, or held in place by environ- 

8. Had the nest anything peculiar 
about it either in situation, construction, 
or material that would tend to render it 
invisible to the casual glance? 

Bird Life, by A. A. Allen; Nature by 
Seaside and Wayside, by Maw G. Phillips 
and Julia M. Wright, Book 3", Plants and 
Animals; Ornithology Laboratory Note- 
book, by A. A. Allen; A Year in the Won- 
derland of Birds, by Hallam Hawksworth. 

Chicks, a few days old 

II, S. Department of Agriculture 


Darne Nature certainly pays close at- 
tention to details. An instance of this is 
the little tooth on the tip of the upper 
mandible of the young chick, which aids 
it in breaking out of its egg-shell prison; 
since a tooth in this particular place 
is of no use later, it disappears. The chil- 
dren are delighted with the beauty of a 
fluffy little chick with its bright, question- 
ing eyes and its life of activity as soon as 

it is freed from the shell. What a contrast 
to the blind, bare, scrawny young robin, 
which seems to be all mouth! The differ- 
ence between the two is fundamental 
since it gives a means for distinguishing 
ground birds from perching birds. The 
young partridge, quail, turkey, and chick 
are clothed and active and ready to go 
with the mother in search of food as soon 
as they are hatched; while the young of 


An anxious stepmother. The ducklings 'pay 
her little heed 

the perching birds are naked and blind, 
being kept warm by the brooding mother, 
and fed and nourished by food brought 
by their parents, until they are large 
enough to leave the nest. The down 
which covers the young chick differs from 
the feathers which come later; the down 
has no quill but consists of several flossy 
threads coming from the same root; later 
on, this down is pushed out and off by 
the true feathers which grow from the 
same sockets. The pupils should see that 
the down is so soft that the little, fluffy 
wings of the chick are useless until the 
real wing feathers appear. 

We chew food until it is soft and fine, 
then swallow it, but the chick swallows it 
whole; after being softened by juices from 
the stomach the food passes into a little 
mill, in which is gravel that the chicken 
has swallowed. This gravel helps to grind 
up the food. This mill is called the gizzard 
and the pupils should be taught to look 
carefully at this organ the next time they 
have chicken for dinner. A chicken has no 
muscles in the throat, like ours, to en- 
able it to swallow water as we do. Thus, 
it has first to fill its beak with water, then 
hold it up so the water will flow down 
the throat. As long as the little chick has 

its mother's wings to sleep under, it does 
not need to put its head under its own 
wing; but when it grows up and spends 
the night upon a roost, it usually tucks 
its head under its wing while sleeping. 

The conversation of the barnyard fowl 
covers many elemental emotions and is 
easily comprehended. It is well for the 
children to understand from the first that 
the notes of birds mean something defi- 
nite. The hen clucks when she is lead- 
ing her chicks afield so that they will 
know where she is in the tall grass; the 
chicks follow " cheeping " or " peeping/ 7 
as the children say, so that she will know 
where they are; but if a chick feels itself 
lost its " peep " becomes loud and dis- 
consolate; on the other hand, there is no 
sound in the world so full of cosy con- 
tentment as the low notes of the chick 
when it cuddles under the mother's wing. 
When a hen finds a bit of food she utters 
rapid notes which call the chicks in a 
hurry, and when she sees a hawk she gives 
a warning " q-r-r " which makes every 
chick run for cover and keep quiet. When 
hens are taking their sun and dust baths 
together, they seem to gossip and we can 
almost hear them saying, " Didn't you 
think Madam Dorking made a great fuss 
over her egg today? " Or, " That over- 
grown young rooster has got a crow to 
match his legs, hasn't he? " Contrast 
these low tones with the song of the hen 
as she issues forth in the first warm days 

Poultry Dept., N. Y. State College of Agriculture 

White leghorns are prolific layers 


of spring and gives to the world one of the 
most joyous songs of all nature. There is 
quite a different quality in the triumphant 
cackle of a hen telling to the world that 
she has laid an egg and the cackle which 
comes from heing startled. When a hen 
is sitting or is not allowed to sit, she is 
nervous and irritable, and voices her 
mental state by scolding. When she is 
really afraid, she squalls; and when seized 
by an enemy, she utters long, horrible 
squawks. The rooster crows to assure his 
flock that all is well; he also crows to show 
other roosters what he thinks of himself 
and of them. The rooster also has other 
notes; he will question you as you ap- 
proach him and his flock, and he will 
give a warning note when he sees a hawk; 
when he finds some dainty tidbit, he calls 
his flock of hens to him and they usually 
arrive just in time to see him swallow the 

When roosters fight, they confront each 
other with their heads lowered and then 
try to seize each other by the back of the 
neck with their beaks, or strike each other 
with the wing spurs, or tear with the leg 
spurs. Weasels, skunks, rats, hawks, and 
crows are the most common enemies of 
the fowls, and often a rooster will attack 
one of these invaders and fight valiantly; 
the hen also will fight if her brood is dis- 

by James G. Lawson; Nature and Science 
Readers, by Edith M. Patch and Harrison 
E. Howe, Book 3, Surprises; The Pet 
Book, by Anna B. Comstock. 


LEADING THOUGHT Chickens have 
interesting habits of life and extensive 
conversational powers. 

METHOD For this lesson it is neces- 
sary that the pupils observe the inhabit- 
ants of the poultry yard and answer these 
questions a few at a time. 

OBSERVATIONS i . Did the chick get 
out of the egg by its own efforts? Of what 
use is the little tooth which is on the tip 


of the upper part of a young chick's beak? 
Does this remain? 

2. What is the difference between the 
down of the chick and the feathers of 
the hen? The little chick has wings; why 
can it not fly? 

3. Why is the chick just hatched so 
pretty and downy, while the young robin 
is so bare and ugly? Why is the young 
chick able to see while the young 'robin 
is blind? 

4. How does the young chick get its 

5. Does the chick chew its food be- 
fore swallowing? If not, why? 

6. How does the chick drink? Why 
does it drink this way? 

7. Where does the chick sleep at night? 
Where will it sleep when it is grown up? 

8. Where does the hen usually put her 
head when she is sleeping? 

9. How does the hen call her chicks 
when she is with them in the field? 

10. How does she call them to food? 

11. How does she tell them there is a 
hawk in sight? 

12. What notes does the chick make 
when it is following its mother? When it 
gets lost? When it cuddles under her 

13. What does the hen say when she 
has laid an egg? When she is frightened? 

Parts of the bird labeled 

This figure may be placed on the blackboard wher/j 
pupils may consult it when studying colors and mark- 
ings of birds. 



When she is disturbed while sitting on 
eggs? When she is grasped by an enemy? 
How do hens talk together? Describe a 
hen's song. 

14. When does the rooster crow? 
What other sounds does he make? 

15. With what weapons does the 
rooster fight his rivals and his enemies? 

16. What are the natural enemies of 
the barnyard fowls and how do they es- 
cape them? 

Pigeon houses of the upper Nile 

J. H. Comstock 


There is mention of domesticated 
pigeons by writers three thousand years 
ago; and Pliny relates that the Romans 
were fervent pigeon fanciers at the be- 
ginning of the Christian era. All of our 
domestic varieties of pigeons have been 
developed from the Rock pigeon, a wild 
species common in Europe and Asia. The 
carrier pigeon was probably the first to 
be specially developed because of its use- 
fulness; its love and devotion to its mate 
and young and its homesickness when 
separated from them were used by man 
for his own interests. When a knight of 
old started off on a Crusade or to other 
wars, he took with him several pigeons 
from the home cote; and after riding 
many days he wrote a letter and tied it 
to the neck or under the wing of one of 

his birds, which he then set free, and it 
flew home with its message; later he would 
set free another in like manner. The draw- 
back to this correspondence was that it 
went only in one direction; no bird from 
home brought message of cheer to the 
wandering knight. Nowadays mail routes, 
telegraph wires, and wireless currents en- 
mesh our globe, and the pigeon as a car- 
rier is out-of-date; but fanciers still perfect 
the homer breed and train pigeons for 
very difficult flight competitions, some 
of them over distances of hundreds of 
miles. Recently a homer made one thou- 
sand miles in two days, five hours, and 
fifty minutes. 

The natural food of pigeons is grain; 
we feed them cracked corn, wheat, peas, 
Kafir corn, millet, and occasionally hemp 


Homing pigeons 

Verne Morton 

seed; it is best to feed mixed rations as 
the birds tire of a monotonous diet. Pi- 
geons should be fed twice a day; the pi- 
geons and their near relatives, the doves 7 
are the only birds which can drink like 
a horse, that is, with the head lowered. 
The walk of a pigeon is accompanied by a 
peculiar nodding as if the head were in 
some way attached to the feet, and this 
movement sends waves of iridescent 
colors over the bird's plumage. The flight 
of the pigeon is direct without soaring, 
the wings move rapidly and steadily, the 
birds circling and sailing as they start or 
alight. The crow flaps hard and then 
sails for a distance when it is inspecting 
the ground, while the hawk soars on mo- 
tionless wings. It requires closer attention 
to understand the language of the pigeon 
than that of the hen, nor has it so wide 
a range of expression as the latter; how- 
ever, some emotions which the children 
will understand are voiced in the cooing. 
The nest is built of grass and twigs; the 
mother pigeon lays two eggs for a sitting; 
but in some breeds a pair will raise from 
seven to twelve broods per year. The eggs 
hatch in from sixteen to eighteen days, 
and both parents share the labors of in- 
cubating. In the case of the homer the 
father bird sits from about 10 A.M. to 
4 P.M. and the mother the remainder of 
the day and night. The devotion of pi- 

geons to their mates and to their young 
is great, and has been sung by the poets 
and praised by the philosophers during 
many ages; some breeds mate for life. The 
young pigeons or squabs are fed in a pe- 
culiar manner; in the crops of both par- 
ents is secreted a cheesy substance, known 
as pigeon milk. The parent seizes the beak 
of the squab in its own and pumps food 
from its own crop into the stomach of 
the young. This nutritious food is given 
to the squab for about five days and then 
replaced by grain which has been softened 
in the parents' stomachs, until the squabs 
are old enough to feed themselves. Rats, 
mice, weasels, and hawks are the chief 
enemies of the pigeons; since pigeons 
cannot fight, their only safety lies in 

As the original Rock pigeon built in 
caves, our domesticated varieties naturally 
build in the houses we provide for them. 
A pigeon house should not be built for 
more than fifty pairs; it should be well 
ventilated and kept clean; it should face 
the south or east and be near a shallow, 
running stream if possible. The nest boxes 
should be about twelve inches square and 
nine inches in height with a door at one 
side, so that the nest may remain hidden. 
In front of each door there should be a 
little shelf to act as a balcony on which 
the resting parent bird may sit and coo 
to relieve the monotony of the sitter's task. 
Some breeders make a double compart- 

J. Deraary 

Pouter pigeons 


ment instead of providing a balcony, 
while in Egypt branches are inserted in 
the wall just below the doors of the very 
ornamental pigeon houses. The houses 
should be kept clean and whitewashed 
with lime to which carbolic acid is added 
in the proportion of one teaspoonful of 
acid to two gallons of the wash; the leaf 
stems of tobacco may be given to the 
pigeons as material for building their 
nests, so as to help keep in check the 


Hugh Spencer 

Domestic pigeon 

bird lice. There should be near the pigeon 
house plenty of fresh water for drinking 
and bathing; also a box of table salt, and 
another of cracked oyster shell and one 
of charcoal as fine as ground coffee. Salt 
is very essential to the health of pigeons. 
The house should be high enough from 
the ground to keep the inmates safe from 
rats and weasels. 

by Ernest Thompson Seton (Story of 
Arnaux); Audubon Bird Leaflets 2, 6, 
101; Cher Ami, the Story of a Carrier 
Pigeon, by Marion B. Cothren; Farm 
Animals, by James G. .Lawson; Homing 
Pigeons: Their Care and Training (U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Farmers 7 Bul- 
letin 1373); Mother Nature Series, by 
Fannie W. Dunn and Eleanor Troxell, 
Book 3, In Field and Forest; The Pet 
BooJk, by Anna B. Comstock; also, read- 
ings on pages 28-29. 

LEADING THOUGHT The pigeons dif- 
fer from other birds in appearance and 
also in their actions. Their nesting habits 
are very interesting and there are many 
things that may be done to make the 
pigeons comfortable. They were, in an- 
cient days, used as letter carriers. 

METHOD If there are pigeons kept 
in the neighborhood, it is best to encour- 
age the pupils to observe these birds out- 
of-doors. Begin the work with an interest- 
ing story and with a few questions which 
will arouse the pupils' interest in the 

OBSERVATIONS i . For an out-of-door 
exercise during recess let the pupils ob- 
serve the pigeon and tell the colors of the 
beak, eyes, top of the head, back, breast, 
wings, tail, feet, and claws. This exercise 
is excellent training to fit the pupils to 
note quickly the colors of wild birds. 

2. On what do pigeons feed? Are they 
fond of salt? 

3. Describe how a pigeon drinks. How 
does it differ in this respect from other 

4. Describe the peculiar movement of 
the pigeon when walking. 

5. Describe the pigeon's flight. Is it 
rapid, high in the air, do the wings flap 
constantly, etc.? What is the chief differ- 
ence between the flight of pigeons and 
that of crows or hawks? 

6. Listen to the cooing of a pigeon and 
see if you can understand the different 

7. Describe the pigeon's nest. How 
many eggs are laid at a time? 

8. Describe how the parents share the 
labors in hatching the eggs. How long is 
it after the eggs are laid before the young 

9. How do the parents feed their young 
and on what material? 

10. What are some enemies of pigeons 
and how do they escape from them? How 
can we protect the pigeons? 

11. Describe how a pigeon house 
should be built. 


12. What must you do for pigeons to bers, that I cannot refrain from quoting 

keep them healthy and comfortable? 

13. How many breeds of pigeons do 
you know? Describe them. 

For my own part I readily concur with 
you in supposing that housedoves are de- 
rived from the small blue rock-pigeon, 
Columba livia, for many reasons. 
But what is worth a hundred arguments 
is the instance you give in Sir Roger 
Mostyns housedoves in Caernarvonshire; 
which, though tempted by plenty of food 
and gentle treatment, can never be pre- 
vailed on to inhabit their cote for any 
time; but as soon as they begin to breed, 
betake themselves to the fastnesses of 
Ormshead, and deposit their young in 
safety amidst the inaccessible caverns and 
precipices of that stupendous promon- 
tory. " You may drive nature out with a 
pitchfork, but she will always return ": 
"Naturam expellas furca . . . tamen us- 
que recurret." 

Virgil, as a familiar occurrence, by way 
of simile, describes a dove haunting the 
cavern of a rock in such engaging num- 

the passage. 

Qualis spelunca subito commota Co- 

Cui domus, et dulces latebroso in pumice 

Fertur in arva volans, plausumque exter- 
rita pennis 

Dat tecto ingentem, mox aere lapsa 

Radit iter liquidum, celeres neque com- 
movet alas. 

(Virg. Aen. v. 213217) 

As when a dove her rocky hold forsakes, 
Roused, in a fright her sounding wings 

she shakes; 
The cavern rings with clattering: out 

she flies, 
And leaves her callow care, and cleaves 

the skies; 
At first she flutters: but at length she 

To smoother flight, and shoots upon her 


(Dryden's Translation) 


In childhood the language of birds and 
animals is learned unconsciously. What 
child, who cares for a canary, does not 
understand its notes which mean loneli- 
ness, hunger, eagerness, joy, scolding, 
fright, love, and song! 

The pair of canaries found in most 
cages are not natural mates. The union is 
one de convenance, forced upon them by 
people who know little of bird affinities. 
We could hardly expect that such a mat- 
ing would be always happy. The singer, 
as the male is called, is usually arbitrary 
and tyrannical and does not hesitate to 
lay chastising beak upon his spouse. The 
expression of affection of the two is usu- 
ally very practical, consisting of feeding 
each other with many beguiling notes 
and much fluttering of wings. The singer 
may have several songs; whether he has 

many or few depends chiefly upon his 
education; he usually shows exultation 
when singing by throwing the head back 
like a prima donna, to let the music well 

K. ' ' 11 

Leonard K. Beyer 

A goldfinch on her nest in a hawthorn 



forth. He is usually brighter yellow in 
color with more brilliantly black markings 
than his mate; she usually has much gray 
in her plumage. But there are about fifty 
varieties of canaries and each has distinct 
color and markings. 

Canaries should be given a more varied 
diet than most people think. The seeds 
we buy or that we gather from the plan- 
tain or wild -grasses, they eat eagerly. 
They like fresh, green leaves of lettuce and 
chickweed and other tender herbage; 
they enjoy bread and milk occasionally. 
There should always be a piece of cuttle- 
fish bone or sand and gravel where they 
can get it, as they need grit for digestion. 
Above all, they should have fresh water. 
Hard-boiled egg is given them while nest- 
ing. The canary seed which we buy for 
them is the product of a grass in the 
Canary Islands. Hemp and rape seed are 
also sold for canary food. 

The canary's beak is wide and sharp 
and fitted for shelling seeds; it is not a 
beak fitted for capturing insects. The 
canary, when drinking, does not have to 
lift the beak so high in the air in order 
to swallow the water as do some birds. 
The nostrils are in the beak and are easily 
seen; the ear is hidden by the feathers. 
The canary is a fascinating little creature 
when it shows interest in an object; it 
has such a knowing look, and its per- 
fectly round, black eyes are so intelligent 
and cunning. If the canary winks, the 
act is so rapid as to be seen with difficulty, 
but when it is drowsy, the little inner lid 
appears at the inner corner of its eye and 
the outer lids close so that we may be 
sure that they are there; the lower lid 
covers more of the eye than the upper. 

The legs and toes are covered with 
scale armor; the toes have long, curved 
claws that are neither strong nor sharp 
but are especially fitted for holding to 
the perch; the long hind toe with its 
stronger claw makes complete the grasp 
on the twig. When the canary is hopping 
about on the bottom of the cage we can 
see that its toes are more fitted for hold- 
ing to the perch than for walking or hop- 
ping on the ground. 

When the canary bathes, it ducks its 
head and makes a great splashing with its 
wings and likes to get thoroughly wet. 
Afterward, it sits all bedraggled and 
" humped up " for a time and then usu- 
ally preens its feathers as they dry. When 
going to sleep, it at first fluffs out its 
feathers and squats on the perch, draws 
back its head, and looks very drowsy. 
Later it tucks its head under its wing for 
the night and looks like a little ball of 
feathers on the perch. 

Canaries make a great fuss when build- 
ing their nest. A pasteboard box is usually 
given them with cotton and string for 
lining; usually one pulls out what the 
other puts in; and they both industriously 
tear the paper from the bottom of the 
cage to add to their building material. 
Finally, a makeshift of a nest is com- 
pleted and the eggs are laid. If the singer 
is a good husband, he helps incubate the 
eggs and feeds his mate and sings to her 
frequently; but often he is quite the re- 
verse and abuses her abominably. The 
nest of the caged bird is very different 
in appearance from the neat nests of grass, 
plant down, and moss which the wild an- 
cestors of these birds made in some safe 
retreat in the shrubs or evergreens of the 
Canary Islands. The canary eggs are pale 
blue, marked with reddish-brown. The 
incubation period is 13 to 14 days. The 
young are as scrawny and ugly as most 
little birds and are fed upon food par- 
tially digested in the parents' stomachs. 
Their first plumage usually resembles 
that of the mother. 

In their wild state in the Canary Islands 
and the Azores, the canaries are olive 
green above with golden yellow breasts. 
When the heat of spring begins, they 
move up the mountains to cooler levels 
and come down again in the winter. They 
may rear three or four broods on their 
way up the mountains, stopping at suc- 
cessive heights as the season advances, 
until finally they reach the high peaks. 


The goldfinches are small birds but 
their songs are so sweet and reedy that 


they seem to fill the world with music 
more effectually than many larger birds. 
They are fond of the seeds of wild grass, 
and especially of thistle seed; and they 
throng the pastures and fence comers 
where the thistles hold sway. In summer, 
the male has bright yellow plumage with 
a little black cap " pulled down over his 
nose " like that of a grenadier. He has also 
a black tail and wings with white-tipped 
coverts and primaries. The tail feathers 
have white on their inner webs also, which 
does not show when the tail is closed. 
The head and back of the female are 
brown and the under parts yellowish 
white, with wings and tail resembling 
those of the male except that they are not 
so vividly black. In winter the male dons 
a dress more like that of his mate; he loses 
his black cap but keeps his black wings 
and tail. 

The song of the goldfinch is exquisite 
and he sings during the entire period of 
his golden dress; he sings while flying as 
well as when at rest. The flight is in itself 
beautiful, being wavelike up and down, 
in graceful curves. Mr. Chapman says 
that on the descending half of the curve 
the male sings " Per-chick or-ree." The 

Audubon Educational Leaflet No. 17 

A pair of goldfinches 

A. A. Allen 

The nest and eggs of a goldfinch in an elm tree 

goldfinch's call notes and alarm notes are 
very much like those of the canary. 

Since the goldfinches live so largely 
upon seeds of grasses, they stay with us in 
small numbers during the winter. During 
this period both parents and young are 
dressed in olive green, and their sweet call 
notes are a surprise to us of a cold, snowy 
morning, for they are associated in our 
memory with summer. The male dons his 
winter suit in October. 

The goldfinch nest is a mass of fluffi- 
ness. These birds make feather beds for 
their young, or perhaps we should say 
beds of down, since it is the thistledown 
which is used for this mattress. The out- 
side of the nest consists of fine shreds 
of bark or fine grass closely woven; but 
the inner portion is a mat of thistledown 
a cushion an inch and a half thick for 
a nest which has an opening of scarcely 
three inches; sometimes the outside is 
ornamented with lichens. The nest is usu- 
ally placed in some bush or tree, often in 
an evergreen, and ordinarily not more 
than five or six feet from the ground; but 
sometimes it is placed thirty feet high. 
The eggs are from four to six in number 
and bluish white in color. The female 
builds the nest, her mate cheering her with 
song meanwhile; he feeds her while she is 
incubating and helps feed the young. A 
strange thing about the nesting habits 
of the goldfinches is that the nest is not 
built until August. It has been surmised 
that this nesting season is delayed until 


there is an abundance of thistledown for 
building material. 

Biographies, by A. A. Allen; Audubon Bird 
Leaflet 17; Bird Stories from Burroughs, 
by John Burroughs; Canaries: Their Care 
and Management by Alexander Wet- 
more (U. S. Department of Agriculture, 
Farmers 7 Bulletin 1327); The Pet Book, 
by Anna B. Comstock (Canary); also, 
readings on pages 28-29. 


LEADING THOUGHT The canary is a 
close relative of the common wild gold- 
finch. If we compare the habits of the two 
we can understand how a canary might 
live if it were free. 

METHOD Bring a canary to the 
schoolroom and ask for observations. 
Ask the pupils to compare the canary 
with the goldfinches which are common 
in the summer. The canary offers oppor- 
tunity for very close observation, which 
will prove excellent training for the pupils 
for beginning bird study. 

OBSERVATIONS i . If there are two 
canaries in the cage, are they always pleas- 
ant to each other? Which one is the 
" boss "? How do they show displeasure 
or bad temper? How do they show affec- 
tion for each other? 

2. Which one is the singer? Does the 
other one ever attempt to sing? What 
other notes do the canaries make besides 
singing? How do they greet you when 
you bring their food? What do they say 
when they are lonesome and hungry? 

3. Does the singer have more than one 
song? How does he act while singing? 
Why does he throw back his head like 
an opera singer when singing? 

4. Are the canaries all the same color? 
What is the difference in color between 
the singer and the mother bird? Describe 
the colors of each in your notebook as 
follows: top and sides of head, back, tail, 
wings, throat, breast, and under parts. 

5. What does the canary eat? What 
sort of seeds do we buy for it? What seeds 

do we gather for it in our garden? Do the 
goldfinches live on the same seeds? What 
does the canary do to the seeds before 
eating them? What tools does he use to 
take off the shells? 

6. Notice the shape of the canary's 
beak. Is it long and strong like a robin's? 
Is it wide and sharp so that it can shell 
seeds? If you should put an insect in the 
cage would the canary eat it? 

7. Why do we give the canary cuttle- 
bone? Note how it takes off pieces of the 
bone. Could it do this if its beak were not 

8. Note the actions of the birds when 
they drink. Why do they do this? 

9. Can you see the nostrils? Where are 
they situated? Why can you not see the 

10. When the canary is interested in 
looking at a thing how does it act? Look 
closely at its eyes. Does it wink? How 
does it close its eyes? When it is drowsy 
can you see the little inner lid come from 
the corner of the eye nearest the beak? 
Is this the only licl? 

11. How are the legs and feet covered? 
Describe the toes. Compare the length of 
the claw with the length of the toe. What 
is the shape of the claw? Do you think 
that claws and feet of this shape are better 
fitted for holding to a branch than for 
walking? Note the arrangement of the 
toes when the bird is on its perch. Is the 
hind toe longer and stronger? If so, why? 
Do the canaries hop or walk about the 
bottom of the cage? 

12. What is the attitude of the canary 
when it goes to sleep at night? How does 
it act when it takes a bath? How does it 
get the water over its head? Over its back? 
What does it do after the bath? If we 
forget to put in the bath dish how does 
the bird get its bath? 


13. When the canaries are ready to 
build a nest, what material do we furnish 
them for it? Does the father bird help 
the mother to build the nest? Do they 
strip off the paper on the bottom of the 


cage for nest material? Describe the nest 
when it is finished. 

14. Describe the eggs carefully. Does 
the father bird assist in sitting on the 
eggs? Does he feed the mother bird when 
she is sitting? 

15. How long after the eggs are laid 
before the young ones hatch? Do both 
parents feed the young? Do they swallow 
the food first and partially digest it before 
giving it to the young? 

16. How do the very young birds look? 
What is their appearance when they 
leave the nest? Does the color of their 
plumage resemble that of the father or 
the mother? 

17. Where did the canaries originally 
come from? Find the place on the map. 


LEADING THOUGHT Goldfinches are 
seen at their best in late summer or 
September, when they appear in flocks 
wherever the thistle seeds are found in 
abundance. Goldfinches so resemble the 
canaries in form, color, song, and habits 
that they are called wild canaries. 

METHOD The questions for this les- 
son may be given to the pupils before the 
end of school in June. The results may be 
reported to the teacher in class when the 
school begins in the autumn. 

OBSERVATIONS i . Where do you find 
the goldfinches feeding? How can you 
distinguish the father from the mother 
birds and from the young ones in color? 

2. Describe the colors of the male gold- 
finch and also of the female as follows: 
crown, back of head, back, tail, wings, 
throat, breast, and lower parts. Describe in 
particular the black cap of the male. 

3. Do you know the song of the gold- 
finch? Is it like the song of the canary? 
What other notes has the goldfinch? 

4. Describe the peculiar flight of the 
goldfinches. Do they fly high in the 
air? Do you usually see them singly or in 

5. Where do the goldfinches stay dur- 
ing the winter? What change takes place 
in the coat of the male during the winter? 
What do they eat during the winter? 

6. At what time of year do the gold- 
finches build their nests? Describe the 
nest. Where is it placed? How far above 
the ground? How far from a stream or 
other water? Of what is the outside made? 
The lining? What is the general appear- 
ance of the nest? What is the color of the 

Sometimes goldfinches one by one will 

From low-hung branches; little space 

they stop, 
But sip, and twitter, and their feathers 


Then off at once, as in a wanton frealc; 
Or perhaps, to show their black and 

golden wings; 

Pausing upon their yellow flutterings, 



Most of us think we know the robin 
well, but very few of us know definitely 
the habits of this, our commonest bird. 
The object of this lesson is to form in the 
pupils a habit of careful observation, and 
to enable them to read for themselves the 
interesting story of this little life which 
is lived every year before their eyes. More- 
over, a robin notebook, if well kept, is a 
treasure for any child; and the close obser- 
vation necessary for this lesson trains the 

pupils to note in a comprehending way 
the habits of other birds. It is the very 
best preparation for bird study of the right 

A few robins occasionally find a swamp 
where they can obtain food to nourish 
them during the northern winter, but for 
the most part they go in flocks to our 
southern states, where they settle in 
swamps and cedar forests and live chiefly 
upon fruits and berries. The robins do not 


Leonard K. Beyer 

A robin and its hungry young 

nest or sing while in Southland. When the 
robins first come to us in the spring they 
feed on wild berries, being especially fond 
of those of the Virginia creeper. As soon as 
the frost is out of the ground they begin 
feeding on earthworms, cutworms, white 
grubs, and other insects. The male robins 
come first, but do not sing much until 
their mates arrive. 

The robin is ten inches long and the 
English sparrow is only six and one-third 
inches long; the pupils should get the sizes 
of these two birds fixed in their minds for 
comparison in measuring other birds. The 
father robin is much more decided in 
color than his mate; his beak is yellow, 
there is a yellow ring about the eye and a 
white spot above it. The head is black and 
the back slaty-brown; the breast is bril- 
liant reddish brown or bay and the throat 
is white, streaked with black. The mother 
bird has paler back and breast and has no 
black upon the head. The wings of both 
are a little darker than the back; the tail 
is black with the two outer feathers tipped 
with white. These white spots do not show 
except when the bird is flying and are 
" call colors " that is, they enable the 
birds to see each other and thus keep to- 
gether when flying in flocks during the 

night. The white patch made by the un- 
der tail-coverts serves a similar purpose. 
The feet and legs are strong and dark in 

The robin has many sweet songs and he 
may be heard in the earliest dawn and also 
in the evenings; if he wishes to cheer his 
mate he may burst into song at any time. 
He feels especially songful before the 
summer showers, when he seems to sing, 
" I have a theory, a theory, it's going 
to rain/' And he might well say that 
he also has a theory, based on experi- 
ence, that a soaking shower will drive 
many of the worms and larvae in the soil 
up to the surface where he can get them. 
Besides these songs the robins have a great 
variety of notes which the female shares, 
although she is not a singer. The agoniz- 
ing, angry cries they utter when they see 
a cat or squirrel must express their feelings 
fully; they give a very different warning 
note when they see crow or hawk. This 
note is hard to describe; it is a long, not 
very loud squeak. 

A robin can run or hop as pleases him 
best, and it is interesting to see one, while 
hunting earthworms, run a little distance, 
then stop to bend the head and listen 
and look; when he finally seizes the earth- 
worm he braces himself on his strong legs 
and tugs manfully until he sometimes al- 

Herbert E. Gray 

Four blue eggs in a nest on a rail fence 


most falls over backward as the worm lets 
go its hold. The robins, especially at nest- 
ing time, eat many insects as well as earth- 

The beginning of a robin's nest is very 
interesting; much strong grass, fine straw, 
leaves, and rootlets are brought and placed 
on a secure support. When enough of this 
material is collected and arranged, the bird 
goes to the nearest mud puddle or stream 
margin and fills its beak with soft mud; 
it then goes back and " peppers " it into 
the nest material; after the latter is soaked, 
the bird gets into it and molds it to the 
body by turning around and around. In 
one case which the author watched the 
mother bird did this part of the building, 
although the father worked industriously 
in bringing the other materials. After the 
nest is molded but not yet hardened, it is 
lined with fine grass or rootlets. If the 
season is very dry and there is no soft 
mud at hand, the robins can build without 
the aid of this plaster. Four eggs, which 
are an exquisite greenish blue in color, are 
usually laid. 

Both parents share the monotonous 
business of incubating, and in the instance 
under the eyes of the author the mother 
bird was on the nest at night; the period 
of incubating is from eleven to fourteen 
days. The most noticeable thing about 

Leonard K. Beyer 

A robin on its nest 

A. A. Allen 

Young robins. Their spotted breasts show 
their relationship to the thrushes 

a very young robin is its wide, yellow-mar- 
gined mouth, which it opens like a satchel 
every time the nest is jarred. This wide 
mouth cannot but suggest to anyone who 
sees it that it is meant to be stuffed, and 
the two parents work very hard to fill it. 
Both parents feed the young and often the 
father feeds the mother bird while she 
is brooding. Professor Treadwell experi- 
mented with young robins and found that 
each would take 68 earthworms daily; 
these worms if laid end to end would 
measure about 14 feet. Think of 14 feet 
of earthworm being wound into the little 
being in the nest; no wonder that it grows 
so fast! I am convinced that each pair of 
robins about our house has its own special 
territory for hunting worms, and that any 
trespasser is quickly driven off. The young 
birds' eyes are opened when they are from 
six to eight days old, and by that time the 
feather tracts, that is, the places where 
the feathers are to grow, are covered by 
the spinelike pin-feathers; these feathers 
push the down out and it often clings to 
their tips. In eleven days the birds are 
pretty well feathered; their wing feathers 
are fairly developed, but alas, they have 
no tail feathers! When a young robin flies 
from the nest he is a very uncertain and 
tippy youngster, not having any tail to 
steer him while flying, or to balance him 
when alighting. 

It is an anxious time for the old robins 
when the young ones leave the nest, and 



they flutter about and scold at anyone 
who comes in sight, so afraid are they that 
injury will come to their inexperienced 
young ones; for some time the parents 
care for the fledglings, solicitously feeding 
them and giving them warnings of danger. 
The young robin shows in its plumage its 
relation to the thrush family, for it is 
yellowish and very spotted and speckled, 
especially on the breast. The parents may 
raise several broods, but they rarely use the 

Leonard K. Beyer 

This robin became so entangled in ma- 
terial it had gathered for its nest tha { t it was 
unable to fly 

same nest for two consecutive broods, 
both because it may be infested with para- 
sites and because it is more or less soiled, 
although the mother robin works hard to 
keep it clean; she carries away all waste 
matter in her beak and drops it at some 
distance from the nest. Robins do not sing 
much after the breeding season is over 
until after they have molted. They are 
fond of cherries and other pulp fruits and 
often do much damage to such crops. The 
wise orchardist will plant a few Russian 
mulberry trees at a reasonable distance 
from his cherry trees, and thus, by giving 
the robins a fruit which they like better, 
and which ripens a little earlier, he may 
save his cherries. It has been proved con- 
clusively that the robins are far more bene- 
ficial than damaging to the farmer; they 

destroy many noxious insects, two-thirds 
of their food throughout the year consist- 
ing of insects; during April and May they 
do a great work in destroying cutworms. 

The robins stay in the North later than 
most migrating birds, often not leaving 
us entirely before November. Occasional 
stragglers may remain all winter, in some 
protected areas. Their chief enemies in 
northern climates are cats, crows, and 
squirrels. Cats should be taught to let 
birds alone (see lesson on cat) or should 
be killed. The crows have driven the 
robins into villages where they can build 
their nests under the protection of man. 
If crows venture near a house to attack the 
robins, firing a gun at them once or twice 
will give them a hint which they are not 
slow to take. The robins of an entire 
neighborhood will attack a nest-robbing 
crow, but usually too late to save the nest- 
lings. The robins can defend themselves 
fairly well against the red squirrel unless 
he steals the contents of the nest while 
the owners are away. There can be no 
doubt that the same pair of robins return 
to the same nesting place year after year. 
On the Cornell University campus a 
robin lacking the white tip on one side 
of his tail was noted to have returned to 
the same particular feeding ground for 
several years; and we are very certain that 
the same female bird built in the vines of 
our piazza for seven consecutive years; it 
took two years to win her confidence, but 
after that she seemed to feel as if she were 
a part of the family and regarded us all 
as friends. We were sure that during her 
fifth year she brought a new young hus- 
band to the old nesting site; probably 
her faithful old husband had met with 
some mischance during the winter. 

Biographies, by A. A. Allen; Audubon 
Bird Leaflet 46; Bird-House to Let, by 
Mary F. Terrel; Bird Stories from Bur- 
roughs, by John Burroughs; First Lessons 
in Nature Study, by Edith M. Patch; Na- 
ture and Science Readers, by Edith M. 
Patch and Harrison E. Howe, Book i. 
Hunting, Book 2, Outdoor Visits, Book 5, 
Science at Home; Nature Stories for CLII- 



dren, Autumn, by Eva L. Gordon and 
Jennie Hall; Science Stories, by Wilbur L. 
Beauchamp, W. S. Gray and Co-authors, 
Book i; also, readings on pages 28-29. 



LEADING THOUGHT To understand all 
we can about the life and ways of the 

METHOD For first and second grades 
this work may be done by means of an 
extra blackboard, or what is far better, 
sheets of ordinary, buff, manila wrapping 
paper fastened together at the upper end, 
so that they may be hung and turned over 
like a calendar. On the outside page make 
a picture of a robin in colored chalk or 
crayons, coloring according to the chil- 
dren's answers to questions of series " b." 
Devote each page to one series of ques- 
tions, as given below. Do not show these 
questions to the pupils until the time is 
ripe for the observations. Those pupils 
giving accurate answers to these questions 
should have their names on a roll of honor 
on the last page of the chart. 

For third or higher grades the pupils 
may have individual notebooks in which 
each one may write his own answers to 
the questions of the successive series, 
which should be written on the black- 
board at the proper time for the observa- 
tions. This notebook should have a page 
about 6x8 inches and may be made of any 
blank paper. The cover or first page should 
show the picture of the robin colored by 
the pupil, and may contain other illus- 
trative drawings, and any poems or other 
literature pertinent to the subject. 

(to be given in March in the northern 

1. At what date did you see the first 
robin this year? 

2. Where did the robin spend the win- 
ter? Did it build a nest or sing when in its 
winter quarters? 

3. What does it find to eat when it 
first comes in the spring? How does this 
differ from its ordinary food? 

4. Does the robin begin to sing as soon 
as it comes north? 

Series b (to be given the first week of 

1. How large is the robin compared 
with the English sparrow? 

2. What is the color of the beak? The 
eye? Around and above the eye? 

3. The color of the top of the head? 
The back? The throat? The breast? 

4. Do all the robins have equally bright 
colors on head, back, and breast? 

5. What is the color of the wing 

6. What is the color of the tail feath- 
ers? Where is the white on them? Can 
the white spots be seen except during 
flight of the bird? Of what use to the 
robin are these spots? 

7. Is there white on the underside of 
the robin as it flies over you? Where? 

8. What is the color of the feet and 

Series c (to be given the second week 
of April). 

1 . At what time of day does the robin 
sing? Is it likely to sing before a rain? 
How many different songs does a robin 

2. What note does a robin give when it 
sees a cat? 

3. What sounds do the robins make 
when they see a crow or a hawk? 

4. Does a robin run or walk or hop? 

5. Do you think it finds the hidden 
earthworm by listening? If so, describe the 

6. Describe how a robin acts as it pulls 
a big earthworm out of the ground. 

7. Do robins eat other food than earth- 

Series d (to be given in the middle of 
April or a little later) . 

1. At what date did your pair of robins 
begin to build their nest? 

2. Where was the nest placed and with 
what material was it begun? 

3. Can you tell the difference in colors 
between the father and mother birds? Do 
both parents help in making the nest? 



4. How and with what material is the 
plastering done? How is the nest molded 
into shape? Do both birds do this part of 
the work? 

5. Where is the mud obtained and how 
carried to the nest? 

6. How is the nest lined? 

Series e (to be given a week after 
series d). 

1. What is the number and color of 
the eggs in the nest? 

2. Do both parents do the sitting? 
Which sits on the nest during the night? 

3. Give the date when the first nestling 

4. How does the young robin look? 
The color and size of its beak? Why is its 
beak so large? Can it see? Is it covered 
with down? Compare it to a young chick 
and describe the difference between the 

5. What does the young robin do if it 
feels any jar against the nest? Why does 
it do this? 

6. Do the young robins make any noise? 

7. What do the parents feed their 
young? Do both parents feed them? Are 
the young fed in turns? 

8. Do you believe each pair of robins 
has a certain territory for hunting worms 
which is not trespassed upon by other 

Series f (to be given three days after 
series e). 

1. How long after hatching before the 
young robin's eyes are open? Can you see 
where the feathers are going to grow? 
How do the young feathers look? 

2. How long after hatching before the 
young birds are covered with feathers? 

3. Do their wing or tail feathers come 

4. How is the nest kept clean? 

5. Give the date when the young robins 
leave the nest. How do the old robins act 
at this important crisis? 

6. Describe the young robin's flight. 
Why is it so unsteady? 

7. How do the young robins differ in 
colors of breast from the parents? 

8. Do the parents stay with the young 
for a time? What care do they give them? 

9. If the parents raise a second brood, 
do they use the same nest? 

Series g (to be given for summer read- 
ing and observations ) . 

1. Do the robins sing all summer? 

2. Do the robins take your berries and 
cherries? How can you prevent them from 
doing this? 

3. Flow does the robin help us? 

4. How long does it stay with us in the 

5. What are the chief enemies of the 
robin and how does it fight or escape 
them? How can we help protect it? 

6. Do you think the same robins come 
back to us each year? 


Stern as were our Pilgrim Fathers, they 
could not fail to welcome certain birds 
with plumage the color of June skies, 
whose sweet voices brought hope and 
cheer to their homesick hearts at the close 
of that first, long, hard winter of 1621. 
The red breasts of these birds brought 
to memory the robins of old England, and 
so they were called " blue robins "; and 
this name expresses well the relationship 
implied, because the bluebirds and robins 
of America are both members of the 

thrush family, a family noted for exquisite 

The bluebirds are usually ahead of the 
robins in the northward journey and often 
arrive in New York arnid the blizzards of 
early March, their soft, rich " curly " notes 
bringing, even to the doubting mind, glad 
convictions of coming spring. There is a 
family resemblance between voices of 
bluebird and robin, a certain rich quality 
of tone; but the robin's song is far more 
assertive and complex than is the soft, 


"purling" song of the bluebird, which 
has been vocalized as " tru-al-ly, tru-al-ly." 
These love songs cease with the hard work 
of feeding the nestlings, but may be heard 
again as a prelude to the second brood in 
June. The red breast of the bluebird is its 
only color resemblance to the robin, al- 
though the young bluebirds and robins are 
both spotted, showing the thrush colors. 
The robin is so much larger than the blue- 
bird that commonly the relationship is 
not noticed. This is easily explained be- 
cause there is nothing to suggest a robin 
in the exquisite cerulean blue of the blue- 
bird's head, back, tail, and wings. This 
color is most brilliant when the bird is 
on the wing, in the sunshine. However, 
there is a certain mirror-like quality in 
these blue feathers; and among leaf shad- 
ows or even among bare branches they 
in a measure reflect the surroundings and 
thus render the bird less noticeable. 
The female is paler, being grayish blue 
above and with only a tinge of red-brown 

This bluebird is nesting in a cavity drilled by 
a woodpecker the previous year 

Leonard K. Beyer 

A hollow fence post is a common home of 
the bluebird. The young are fed chiefly on 

on the breast; both birds are white 

The bluebirds haunt open woods, fields 
of second growth, and especially old or- 
chards. They flit about in companies of 
three or four until they mate for nesting. 
While feeding, the bluebird usually sits on 
a low branch keeping a keen eye on the 
ground below, now and then dropping 
suddenly on an unsuspecting insect and 
then returning to its perch; it does not re- 
main on the ground hunting food as does 
the robin. The nest is usually built in a 
hole in a tree or post and is made of soft 
grass. A hollow apple tree is a favorite 
nesting site. 

In building birdhouses we should bear 
in mind that a cavity about ten inches 
deep and six inches in height and width 
will give a pair of bluebirds room for 
building a nest. The opening should not 
be more than two or two and one-half 
inches in diameter and there should be 
no threshold; this latter is a very particu- 
lar point. If there is a threshold or place 
to alight upon, the sparrows are likely to 
dispute with the bluebirds and drive them 
away, but the sparrow does not care for a 


place which has no threshold. The box for 
the bluebird may be made out of old 
boards or may be a section of an old tree 
trunk; it should be fastened from six to 
fifteen feet above the ground, and should 
be in nowise noticeable in color from its 
surroundings. To protect the nest from 
cats, barbed wire should be wound around 
the tree or post below the box. If the box 
for the nest is placed upon a post, the 
barbed wire will also protect it from 
the squirrels. The eggs are bluish white; 
the young birds in their first feathers are 
spotted on the back and have whitish 
breasts mottled with brown. The food of 
the nestlings is almost entirely insects. In 
fact, this bird during its entire life is a 
great friend to man. The food of the adult 
is more than three-fourths insects and the 
remainder is wild berries and fruits, the 
winter food being largely mistletoe ber- 
ries. It makes a specialty of beetles, cater- 
pillars, and grasshoppers, and seems never 
to touch any of our cultivated fruits. We 
should do everything in our power to en- 
courage and protect these birds from their 
enemies, which are chiefly cats, squirrels, 
and English sparrows. 

The migration takes place in flocks dur- 
ing autumn, but it is done in a most lei- 
surely manner with frequent stops where 
food is plenty. The bluebirds we see in 
September are probably not the ones we 
have had with us during the summer, but 
are those which have come from farther 

They winter largely in the Gulf states; 
the writer has often heard them singing 
in midwinter in southern Mississippi. The 
bluebirds seem to be the only ones that 
sing while at their winter resorts. They live 
the year round in the Bermudas, contrast- 
ing their heavenly blue plumage with the 
vivid red of the cardinals. The bluebird 
should not be confused with the indigo 
bunting; the latter is darker blue and has a 
blue breast. 

Biographies, by A. A. Allen; Audubon 
Bird Leaflet 24; Bird-House to Let, by 
Mary F. Terrel; Bird Stories from Bur- 
roughs, by John Burroughs; First Lessons 

in Nature Study, by Edith M. Patch; Na- 
ture and Science Readers, by Edith M. 
Patch and Harrison E. Howe, Book i, 
Hunting, Book 2, Outdoor Visits; Science 
Stories, by Wilbur L. Beauchamp, W. S. 
Gray and Co-authors, Book i; also, read- 
ings on pages 28-29. 

Winged lute that we call a bluebird, 

You blend in a silver strain 
The sound of the laughing waters, 

The patter of spring's sweet rain, 
The voice of the winds, the sunshine, 

And fragrance of blossoming things. 
Ah! You are an April poem, 

That God has dowered with wings. 


LEADING THOUGHT The bluebird is 
related to the robins and thrushes and is 
as beneficial as it is beautiful. We should 
study its habits and learn how to make 
nesting boxes for it, and protect it in all 

METHOD The observations of this 
lesson must be made in the field and by 
the pupils individually. Give to each an 
outline of questions to answer through 
seeing. There should follow reading les- 
sons on the bluebird's value to us and its 
winter migrations, and the lesson should 
end in discussions of the best way to build 
boxes for its use in nesting season, its pro- 
tection from cats and other enemies. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Which comes north 
earlier in spring, the robin or the blue- 

2. How do the two resemble each othei 
and differ from each other? 

3. Describe the bluebirds' song. Do 
they sing all summer? 

4. Describe the colors of the bluebird 
as follows: the head, back, breast, under 
parts, wings, tail. Flow does the male blue- 
bird differ from his mate in colors? 

5. Where were the bluebirds you saw? 
What were they doing? If feeding, how 
did they act? 

6. Can you see the color of the blue- 

bird as plainly when it is in a tree as when 
it is flying? If not, why? 

7. Where do the bluebirds build their 
nests? Of what material are the nests 
made? Do both parents work at the nest 

8. What is the color of the eggs? How 
do the young birds look, when old enough 
to leave the nest, as compared with their 

9. What do the bluebirds eat? How do 
they benefit us? 

10. What can we do to induce the blue- 
birds to live near our houses? How can we 
protect them? 

1 1 . Where do the bluebirds spend the 


12. Make a colored picture of a blue- 
bird. How can we tell the bluebird from 
the indigo bunting? 

13. What are the bluebirds* chief ene- 

Hark/ 'tis the bluebird's venturous strain 
High on the old fringed elm at the 

gate - 
Sweet-voiced, valiant on the swaying 

Alert, elate, 
Dodging the fitful spits of snow, 

New England's poet-laureate 
Telling us Spring has come again/ 



The busy nuthatch climbs his tree 
Around the great bole spirally, 
Peeping into wrinkles gray, 
Under ruffled lichens gay, 
Lazily piping one sharp note 
From his silver mailed throat. 


Blithe and mellow is the ringing " ank, 
ank " note of the nuthatch, and why need 
we allude to its nasal timbre! While it 
is not a strictly musical note, it has a most 
enticing quality and translates into sound 
the picture of bare-branched trees and the 
feeling of enchantment which permeates 
the forest in winter; it is one of the most 
"woodsy" notes in the bird repertoire. 
And while the singer of this note is not 
so bewitching as his constant chum the 
chickadee, yet he has many interesting 
ways quite his own. Nor is this "ank, 
ank " his only note. I have often heard 
a pair talking to each other in sweet confi- 
dential syllables, " wit, wit, wit/' very dif- 
ferent from the loud note meant for the 
world at large. The nuthatches and chicka- 
dees hunt together all winter; it is no mere 
business partnership but a matter of con- 
genial tastes. The chickadees hunt over 
the twigs and smaller branches, while the 
nuthatches usually prefer the tree trunks 

and the bases of the branches; both birds 
like the looks of the world upside down, 
and while the chickadee hangs head down 
from a twig, the nuthatch is quite likely 
to alight head down on a tree bole, hold- 
ing itself safely in this position by thrust- 
ing its toes out at right angles to the body, 
thus getting a firm hold upon the bark. 
Sometimes its foot will be twisted com- 
pletely around, the front toes pointed 
up the tree. The foot is well adapted for 
clinging to the bark as the front toes are 
strong and the hind toe is very long 
and is armed with a strong claw. Thus 
equipped, this bird runs about on the tree 
so rapidly that it has earned the name of 
"tree mouse/' It often ascends a tree 
trunk spirally but is not so hidebound in 
this habit as is the brown creeper. It runs 
up or down freely, head first, and never 
flops down backwards like a woodpecker. 
In color the nuthatch is bluish gray 
above with white throat and breast and 


reddish underparts. The sides of the head 
are white; the black cap extends back upon 
the neck but is not " pulled down " to the 
eyes as with the chickadees. The wing 
feathers are dark brown edged with pale 
gray. The upper middle tail feathers are 
bluish like the back; the others are dark 
brown and tipped with white in such a 


acorn into a seam in the bark and then 
throw back its head, woodpecker fashion, 
and drive home its chisel beak. But it does 
not always use common sense in this 
habit. I have often seen one cut off a piece 
of suet, fly off and thrust it into some 
crevice, and hammer it as hard as if it 
were encased in a walnut shell. This al- 

A family oj white-breasted nuthatches 

S. A. Grimes 

manner that the tail when spread shows 
a broad white border on both sides. The 
most striking contrast between the chicka- 
dee and nuthatch in markings is that the 
latter lacks the black bib. However, its 
entire shape is very different from that 
of the chickadee and its beak is long and 
slender, being as long as its head or longer, 
while the beak of the chickadee is a 
short, sharp little pick. The bill of the 
nuthatch is fitted to reach in crevices of 
the bark and pull out hiding insects, or 
to hammer open the shell of nut or acorn 
and get both the meat of the nut and the 
grub feeding upon it. It will wedge an 

ways seems bad manners, like carrying off 
fruit from table d'hote; but the nuthatch 
is polite enough in using a napkin, for 
after eating the suet, it invariably wipes its 
bill on a branch most assiduously, first 
one side then the other, until it is per- 
fectly clean. 

The nuthatches are a great benefit to 
our trees in winter, for then is when they 
hunt for hiding pests on the trunks. 
Their food consists of beetles, caterpillars, 
pupas of various insects, also seeds of rag- 
weed, sunflowers, acorns, etc. While the 
nuthatch finds much of its food on trees, 
yet Mr. Torrey has seen it awkwardly turn- 


ing over fallen leaves hunting for insects, 
and Mr. Baskett says it sometimes catches 
insects on the wing and gets quite out of 
breath from this unusual exercise. 

It is only during the winter that we com- 
monly see the nuthatches, for during the 
nesting season they usually retire to the 
deep woods, where they may occupy a 
cavity in a tree used by a woodpecker last 
year, or may make a hole for themselves 
with their sharp beaks. The nest is lined 
with leaves, feathers, and hair; from five 
to nine creamy, speckled eggs are the 
treasure of this cave. 

Leaflet 59; The Nature Hour, by Lucille 
Nicol, S. M. Levenson, and Teressa Kahn, 
Sixth Year, Spring; also, readings on 
pages 28-29. 


LEADING THOUGHT The nuthatch is 
often a companion of the chickadees and 
woodpeckers. It has no black bib, like the 
chickadee, and it alights on a tree trunk 
head downward, which distinguishes it 
from woodpeckers. 

METHOD This bird, like the chicka- 
dee and downy, gladly shares the suet ban- 

A characteristic pose 

L. H. Bailey 

Leonard K. Beyer 

The nuthatch runs head first down tree 
trunks in search of insects. Here he is eating 
suet which has been fastened to the tree 

quet we prepare for them and may be ob- 
served at leisure while " at table." The 
contrast between the habits of the nut- 
hatch and those of its companions makes 
it a most valuable aid in stimulating close 
and keen observation on the part of the 

OBSERVATIONS i . Where have you 
seen the nuthatches? Were they with 
other birds? What other birds? 

2. Does a nuthatch usually alight on 
the ends of the branches of a tree or on 
the trunk and larger limbs? Does it usu- 
ally alight head down or up? When it runs 
down the tree, does it go head first or does 
it back down? When it ascends the tree, 
does it follow a spiral path? Does it use 
its tail for a brace when climbing, as does 
the downy? 

3. How does the arrangement of the 
nuthatch's toes assist it in climbing? Are 
the three front toes of each foot directed 
downward when the bird alights head 
downward? How does it manage its feet 
when in this position? 

4. What is the general color of the nut- 
hatch above and below? The color of the 
top and sides of head? Color of back? 
Wings? Tail? Throat? Breast? 

5. Does the black cap come down to 



the eyes on the nuthatch as on the chicka- 
dee? Has the nuthatch a black bib? 

6. What is the shape of the beak of the 
nuthatch? For what is it adapted? How 
does it differ from the beak of the chicka- 

7. What is the food of the nuthatch? 
Where is it found? Does it open nuts for 
the grubs or the nut meat? Observe the 
way it strikes its beak into the suet; why 
does it strike so hard? 

8. How would you spell this bird's 
note? Have you heard it give more than 
one note? 

9. How does the nuthatch benefit our 
trees? At what season does it benefit them 
most? Why? 

10. Where do the nuthatches build 
their nests? Why do we see the nut- 
hatches oftener in winter than in sum- 

Acadian chickadees 

Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr. 


He Is the hero of the woods; there are courage and good nature enough in that 
compact little body, which you may hide in your fist, to supply a whole groveful 
of May songsters. He has the Spartan virtue of an eagle, the cheerfulness of a thrush, 
the nimbleness of Code Sparrow, the endurance of the sea-birds condensed into his 
tiny frame, and there have been added a pertness and ingenuity all his own. His curi- 
osity is immense, and his audacity equal to it; I have even had one alight upon the 
barrel of the gun over my shoulders as I sat quietly under his tree. 


However careless we may be of our bird 
friends when we are in the midst of the 
luxurious life of summer, even the most 
careless among us give pleased attention 
to the birds that bravely endure with 
us the rigors of winter. And when this 
winged companion of winter proves to be 
the most fascinating little ball of feathers 
ever created, constantly overflowing with 
cheerful song, our pleased attention 
changes to active delight. Thus it is, that 
in all the lands of snowy winters the 
chickadee is a loved comrade of the coun- 
try wayfarer; that happy song " chick-a- 
dee-dee-dee " finds its way to the dullest 

consciousness and the most callous heart. 
The chickadees appear in small flocks 
in the winter and often in company with 
the nuthatches. The chickadees work on 
the twigs and ends of branches, while the 
nuthatches usually mine the bark of the 
trunk and larger branches, the former 
hunting insect eggs and the latter, insects 
tucked away in winter quarters. When the 
chickadee is prospecting for eggs, it first 
looks the twig over from above and then 
hangs head down and inspects it from be- 
low; it is a thorough worker and doesn't in- 
tend to overlook anything whatever; and 
however busily it is hunting, it always finds 


time for singing; whether on the wing or 
perched upon a twig or hanging from it 
like an acrobat, head down, it sends forth 
its happy " chickadeedee " to assure us 
that this world is all right and good 
enough for anybody. Besides this song, it 
begins in February to sing a most seductive 
" fee-bee/ 7 giving a rising inflection to the 
first syllable and a long, falling inflection 
to the last, which makes it a very different 
song from the short, jerky notes of the 
flycatcher called phoebe, which cuts the 
last syllable short and gives it a rising in- 
flection. More than this, the chickadee 
has some chatty conversational notes, and 
now and then performs a bewitching little 
yodel, which is a fit expression of its own 
delicious personality. 

The general effect of the colors of the 
chickadee is grayish brown above and 
grayish white below. The top of the head 
is black, the sides white, and it has a se- 
ductive little black bib under its chin. 
The back is grayish, the wings and tail are 
dark gray, the feathers having white mar- 
gins. The breast is grayish white changing 
to buff or brownish at the sides and below. 
It is often called the " Black-capped Tit- 
mouse/ 7 and it may always be distin- 

S. A. Grimes 

Black-capped chickadees. The friendly chick- 
adee is easily tamed 

A " banded ' 

Leonard K. Beyer 


guished by black cap and black bib. It is 
smaller than the English sparrow; its beak 
is a sharp little pick just fitted for taking 
insect eggs off twigs and from under bark. 
Insects are obliged to pass the winter in 
some stage of their existence, and many of 
them wisely remain in the egg until there 
is something worth doing in the way of 
eating. These eggs are glued fast to the 
food trees by the mother insect and thus 
provide abundant food for the chicka- 
dees. It has been estimated that one 
chickadee will destroy several hundred in- 
sect eggs in one day, and it has been 
proved that orchards frequented by these 
birds are much more free from insect pests 
than other orchards in the same locality. 
They can be enticed into orchards by put- 
ting up beef fat or bones and thus we 
can secure their valuable service. In sum- 
mer these birds attack caterpillars and 
other insects. 

When it comes to nest building, if the 
chickadees cannot find a house to rent 
they proceed to dig out a proper hole from 
some decaying tree, which they line with 
moss, feathers, fur, or some other soft ma- 
terial. The nest is often not higher than 
six to ten feet from the ground. One 
which I studied was in a decaying fence 
post. The eggs are white, sparsely speckled 
and spotted with lilac or rufous. The 
young birds are often eight in number. 
How these fubsy birdlings manage to pack 
themselves in such a small hole is a won- 
der; it probably gives them good discipline 
in bearing hardships cheerfully. 

7 o 


Biographies, by A. A. Allen; Aiidubon 
Bird Leaflet 61; Bird Stories, by Edith M. 
Patch; Bird Stories from Burroughs, by 
John Burroughs; Nature and Science 
Readers, by Edith M. Patch and Harrison 
E. Howe, Book 2, Outdoor Visits; Win- 
ter, by Dallas Lore Sharp; also, readings on 
pages 28-29. 


LEADING THOUGHT The chickadee is 
as useful as it is delightful; it remains in 
the North during winter, working hard 
to clear our trees of insect eggs and sing- 
ing cheerily all day. It is so friendly that 
we can induce it to come even to the 
window sill by putting out suet to show 
our friendly interest. 

METHOD Put beef fat on the trees 
near the schoolhouse in December and 
replenish it about every two or three 
weeks. The chickadees will come to the 
feast and may be observed all winter. Give 
the questions a few at a time and let the 
children read in the bird books a record of 
the benefits derived from this bird. 

OBSERVATIONS i . Where have you 
seen the chickadees? What were they do- 
ing? Were there several together? 

2. What is the common song of the 
chickadee? What other notes has it? Have 
you heard it yodel? Have you heard it 
sing " fee-bee, fee-bee "? How does this 
song differ from that of the phcebe? Does 
it sing on the wing or when at rest? 

3. What is the color of the chickadee: 
top and sides of head, back, wings, tail, 
throat, breast, under parts? 

4. Compare the size of the chickadee 
with that of the English sparrow. 

5. What is the shape of the chickadee's 
bill and for what is it adapted? What is 
the food in winter? Where does the bird 
find it? How does it act when feeding and 
hunting for food? 

6. Does the chickadee usually alight on 
the ends of the branches or on the larger 
portions near the trunk of the tree? 

7. How can you distinguish the chicka- 
dees from their companions, the nut- 

8. Does the chickadee ever seem dis- 
couraged by the snow and cold weather? 
Do you know another name for the 

9. Where does it build its nest? Of 
what material? Have you ever watched 
one of these nests? If so, tell about it. 

10. How does the chickadee benefit our 
orchards and shade trees? How can we 
induce it to feel at home with us and work 
for us? 


Friend Downy is the name this at- 
tractive little neighbor has earned, be- 
cause it is so friendly to those of us who 
love trees. Watch it as it hunts each crack 
and crevice of the bark of your favorite 
apple or shade tree, seeking assiduously for 
cocoons and insects hiding there, and you 
will soon, of your own accord, call it 
friend; you will soon love its black and 
white uniform, which consists of a black 
coat speckled and barred with white, and 
whitish gray vest and trousers. The front 

of the head is black and there is a black 
streak extending backward from the eye 
with a white streak above and also below 
it. The male has a vivid red patch on the 
back of the head, but his wife shows no 
such giddiness; plain black and white are 
good enough for her. In both sexes the 
throat and breast are white, the middle 
tail feathers black, while the side tail feath- 
ers are white, barred with black at their 
The downy has a way of alighting low 


down on a tree trunk or at the base of a 
larger branch and climbing upward in a 
jerky fashion; it never runs about over the 
tree nor does it turn around and go down 
head Erst, like the nuthatch; if it wishes 
to go down a short distance it accom- 
plishes this by a few awkward, backward 
hops; but when it really wishes to descend, 
it flies off and down. The downy, like 
other woodpeckers, has a special arrange- 
ment of its physical machinery which en- 
ables it to climb trees in its own manner. 
It can grasp the bark on the side of a tree 
more firmly because its fourth toe is 
turned backward and works as a com- 
panion with the thumb. Thus it is able 
to clutch the bark as with a pair of nip- 
pers, two claws in front and two claws be- 
hind; and as another aid, the tail is ar- 
ranged to prop the bird, like a bracket. 
The tail is rounded in shape and the mid- 
dle feathers have rather strong quills; but 
the secret of the adhesion of the tail to 
the bark lies in the great profusion of 
barbs which, at the edge of the feathers, 
offer bristling tips, and when applied to 
the side of the tree act like a wire brush 
with all the wires pushing downward. 
This explains why the woodpecker can- 
not go backward without lifting the tail. 
But even more wonderful than this is 
the mechanism by which the downy and 
hairy woodpeckers get their food, which 
consists largely of wood-borers or larvae 
working under the bark. When the wood- 
pecker wishes to get a grub in the wood, 
it seizes the bark firmly with its feet, uses 
its tail as a brace, throws its head and up- 
per part of the body as far back as pos- 
sible, and then drives a powerful blow 
with its strong beak. The beak is adapted 
for just this purpose, as it is wedge-shaped 
at the end, and is used like a mason's drill 
sometimes, and sometimes like a pick. 
When the bird uses its beak as a pick, it 
strikes hard, deliberate blows and the 
chips fly; but when it is drilling, it strikes 
rapidly and not so hard and quickly drills 
a small, deep hole leading directly to the 
burrow of the grub. When finally the grub 
is reached, it would seem well-nigh impos- 
sible to pull it out through a hole which is 

Friend Downy 

L. "W. Brownell 

too small and deep to admit of the beak 
being used as pincers. This is another story 
and a very interesting one; the downy and 
hairy can both extend their tongues far 
beyond the point of the beak, and the tip 
of the tongue is hard and horny and cov- 
ered with short backward-slanting hooks 
acting like a spear or harpoon; and thus 
when the tongue is thrust into the grub it 
pulls it out easily. The bones of the tongue 
have a spring arrangement; when not in 

Friend Downy's foot 

use, the tongue lies soft in the mouth, like 
a wrinkled earthworm, but when in use ? 
the bones spring out, stretching it to its 
full length, and it is then slim and small. 
The process is like fastening a pencil to the 
tip of a glove finger; when drawn back the 
finger is wrinkled together, but when 
thrust out, it straightens. This spring ar- 
rangement of the bones of the woodpeck- 
er's tongue is a marvelous mechanism 
and should be studied through pictures. 
Since the food of the downy and the 


hairy is where they can get it all winter, 
there is no need for them to go south; 
thus they stay with us and work for us the 
entire year. We should try to make them 
feel at home with us in our orchards and 
shade trees by putting up pieces of beef 
fat, to convince them of their welcome. 
No amount of free food will pauperize 
these birds, for as soon as they have eaten 
of the fat, they commence to hunt for 
grubs on the tree and thus earn their feast. 
They never injure live wood. 

James Whitcomb Riley describes the 
drumming of the woodpecker as " weed- 

A. A. Allen 

Part of the tree has been cut away to show 
Downy's nest 

ing out the lonesomeness " and that is ex- 
actly what the drumming of the wood- 
pecker means. The male selects some 
dried limb of hard wood and there beats 
out his well-known signal which adver- 
tises far and near, " Wanted, a wife." And 
after he wins her, he still drums on for a 
time to cheer her while she is busy with 
her family cares. The woodpecker has no 
voice for singing, like the robin or thrush; 
and luckily, he does not insist on singing, 
like the peacock, whether he can or not. 
He chooses rather to devote his voice to 
terse and business-like conversation; and 
when he is musically inclined, he turns 
drummer. He is rather particular about his 
instrument, and having found one that is 

sufficiently resonant he returns to it day 
after day. While it is ordinarily the male 
that drums, I once observed a female 
drumming. I told her that she was a bold 
minx and ought to be ashamed of her- 
self; but within twenty minutes she had 
drummed up two red-capped suitors who 
chased each other about with great ani- 
mosity, so her performance was evidently 
not considered improper in woodpecker 
society. I have watched a rival pair of male 
downies fight for hours at a time, but their 
duel was of the French brand much 
fuss and no bloodshed. They advanced 
upon each other with much haughty glar- 
ing and many scornful bobs of the head, 
but when they were sufficiently near to 
stab each other they beat a mutual and 
circumspect retreat. Although we hear the 
male clownies drumming every spring, I 
doubt if they are calling for new wives; I 
believe they are, instead, calling the atten- 
tion of their lawful spouses to the fact that 
it is time for nest building to begin. I have 
come to this conclusion because the 
downies and hairies which I have watched 
for years have always come in pairs to par- 
take of suet during the entire winter; and 
while only one at a time sits at meat and 
the lord and master is somewhat bossy, yet 
they seem to get along as well as most mar- 
ried pairs. 

The downy 7 s nest is a hole, usually in a 
partly decayed tree; an old apple tree is a 
favorite site and a fresh excavation is made 
each year. There are from four to six white 
eggs, which are laid on a nice bed of chips 
almost as fine as sawdust. The cloor to the 
nest is a circle about an inch and a quarter 

The hairy woodpecker is fully one-third 
larger than the downy, measuring nine 
inches from tip of beak to tip of tail, while 
the downy measures only about six inches. 
The tail feathers at the side are white for 
the entire length, while they are barred at 
the tips in the downy. There is a black 
" parting " through the middle of the red 
patch on the back of the hairy 's head. The 
two species are so much alike that it is 
difficult for the beginner to tell them 
apart. Their habits are very similar, except 


that the hairy lives in the woods and is not trunk? 
so commonly seen in orchards or on shade 
trees. The food of the hairy is much like 
that of the downy; it is, therefore, a 
beneficial bird and should be protected. 

Leaflet 55; Bird Stories from Burroughs, 
by John Burroughs; Mother Nature Series, 
by Fannie W. Dunn and Eleanor Trox- 
ell, Book 3, In Field and Forest; Nature 
and Science Readers, by Edith M. Patch 
and Harrison E. Howe, Book i, Hunting, 
Book 2, Outdoor Visits; also, readings on 
pages 28-29. 


woodpecker remains with us all winter, 
feeding upon insects that are wintering in 
crevices and beneath the bark of our trees. 
It is fitted especially by shape of beak, 
tongue, feet, and tail to get such food and 
is a " friend in need " to our forest, shade, 
and orchard trees. 

METHOD If a piece of beef fat be 
fastened upon the trunk or branch of a 
tree which can be seen from the school- 
room windows, there will be no lack of in- 
terest in this friendly little bird; for the 
downy will sooner or later find this feast 
spread for it and will come every day to 
partake. Give out the questions, a few at a 
time, and discuss the answers with the 

OBSERVATIONS i . What is the gen- 
eral color of the downy above and below? 
The color of the top of the head? Sides of 
the head? The throat and breast? The 
color and markings of the wings? Color 
and markings of the middle and side tail 

2. Do all downy woodpeckers have the 
red patch at the back of the head? 

3. What is the note of the downy? 
Does it make any other sound? Have you 
ever seen one drumming? At what time of 
the year? On what did it drum? What did 
it use for a drumstick? What do you sup- 
pose was the purpose of this music? 

4. How does the downy climb a tree 


How does it descend? How 
do its actions differ from those of the nut- 

5. How does the arrangement of the 
woodpecker's toes help it in climbing a 
tree trunk? How does this arrangement of 
toes differ from that of other birds? 

6. How does the downy use its tail to 
assist it in climbing? What is the shape of 
the tail and how is it adapted to assist? 

7. What does the downy eat and where 
does it find its food? Describe how it gets 
at its food. What is the shape of its bill 
and how is it fitted for getting the food? 
Tell how the downy's tongue is used to 
spear the grub. 

8. Why do you think the downy does 
not go south in winter? 

9. Of what use is this bird to us? How 
should we protect it and entice it into our 

10. Write an account of how the 
downy builds its nest and rears its young. 

A few seasons ago a downy woodpecker, 
probably the individual one who is now 
my winter neighbor, began to drum early 
in March in a partly decayed apple-tree 
that stands in the edge of a narrow strip of 
woodland near me. When the morning 
was still and mild I would often hear him 
through my window before I was up, or b} 
half-past six o'clock, and he would keep it 
up pretty briskly till nine or ten o'clock, in 
this respect resembling the grouse, which 
do most of their drumming in the fore- 
noon. His drum was the stub of a dry limb 
about the size of one's wrist. The heart 
was decayed and gone, but the outer shell 
was loud and resonant. The bird would 
keep his position there for an hour at a 
time. Between his drummings he would 
preen his plumage and listen as if for the 
response of the female, or for the drum of 
some rival. How swift his head would go 
when he was delivering his blows upon the 
limb/ His bealc wore the surface percep- 
tibly. When he wished to change the key, 
which was quite often, he would shift his 
position an inch or two to a knot which 
gave out a higher, shriller note. When I 
climbed up to examine his drum he was 


much disturbed. I did not know he was in 
the vicinity, but it seems he saw me from 
a near tree, and came in haste to the neigh- 
boring branches, and with spread plumage 
and a sharp note demanded plainly 
enough what my business was with his 
drum. I was invading his privacy, dese- 
crating his shrine, and the bird was much 
put out. After some weeks the female ap- 
peared; he had literally drummed up a 
mate; his urgent and oft-repeated adver- 
tisement was answered. Still the drum- 
ming did not cease, but was quite as fer- 
vent as before. If a mate could be won by 
drumming she could be kept and enter- 
tained by more drumming; courtship 

should not end with marriage. If the bird 
felt musical before, of course he felt much 
more so now. Besides that, the gentle 
deities needed propitiating in behalf of 
the nest and young as well as in behalf of 
the mate. After a time a second female 
came, when there was war between the 
two. I did not see them come to blows, 
but I saw one female pursuing the other 
about the place, and giving her no rest for 
several days. She was evidently trying to 
run her out of the neighborhood. Now 
and then she, too, would drum briefly as 
if sending a triumphant message to her 


L. A. Fuertes 

The yellow-bellied sapsucker 

The sapsucker is a woodpecker that 
has strayed from the paths of virtue; he 
has fallen into temptation by the wayside, 
and instead of drilling a hole for the sake 
of the grub at the end of it, he drills for 

drink. He is a tippler, and sap is his bev- 
erage; and he is also fond of the soft, inner 
bark. He often drills his holes in regular 
rows and thus girdles a limb or a tree, 
and for this is pronounced a rascal by men 
who have themselves ruthlessly cut from 
our land millions of trees that should now 
be standing. It is amusing to see a sap- 
sucker take his tipple, unless his saloon 
happens to be one of our prized young 
trees. He uses his bill as a pick and makes 
the chips fly as he taps the tree; then he 
goes away and taps another tree. After a 
time he comes back and holding his beak 
close to the hole for a long time seems to 
be sucking up the sap; he then throws 
back his head and " swigs " it down with 
every sign of delirious enjoyment. The 
avidity with which these birds come to the 
bleeding wells which they have made, lias 
in it all the fierceness of a toper crazy for 
drink; they are particularly foncl of the 
sap of the mountain ash, apple, thorn ap- 
ple, canoe birch, cut-leaf birch, red maple, 
red oak, white ash, and young pines. How- 
ever, the sapsucker does not live solely on 
sap; he also feeds upon insects whenever 
he can find them. When feeding their 
young, the sapsuckers are true flycatchers 
snatching insects while on the wing. The 
male has the crown and throat crimson, 
edged with black with a black line extend- 



ing back of the eye, bordered with white tree? If there are two rows or more, are the 
above and below. There is a large, black holes set evenly one below another? 
circular patch on the breast which is bor- ~ " 

dered at the sides and below with lemon 
yellow. The female is similar to the male 
and has a red forehead, but she has a 
white bib instead of a red one beneath the 
chin. The distinguishing marks of the sap- 
sucker should be learned by the pupils. 
The red is on the front of the head instead 
of on the crown, as is the case with the 

2. Do the holes sink into the wood, or 
are they simply through the bark? Why 
does it injure or kill a tree to be girdled 
with these holes? Have you ever seen the 
sapsuckers making these'holes? If so, how 
did they act? 

3. How many kinds of trees can you 
find punctured by these holes? Are they 
likely to be young trees? 

downy and hairy; when the bird is flying 4. How can you distinguish the sap- 
the broad, white stripes extending from sucker from the other woodpeckers? How 
the shoulders backward, form a long, oval have the hairy and downy which are such 
figure, which is very characteristic. 

The sapsuckers spend the winter in the 
southern states where they drill wells in 
the white oak and other trees. From Vir- 
ginia to northern New York and New 
England, where they breed, they are seen 
only during migration, which occurs in 
April; then the birds appear two and three 
together and are very bold in attacking 
shade trees, especially the white birch. 
They nest only in the northern United 
States and northward. The nest is usually In the following winter the same bird 
a hole in a tree about forty feet from the (a sapsuclcer) tapped a maple-tree in front 
ground, and is likely to be in a dead birch, of my window in fifty-six places; and, 
SUGGESTED READING Audubon Bird when the day was sunny and the sap oozed 
Leaflet 102; also, readings on pages 28-29. out he spent most of his time there. He 

knew the good sap-days, and was on hand 
promptly for his tipple; cold and cloudy 
days he did not appear. He knew which 
side of the tree to tap, too, and avoided 
the sunless northern exposure. When one 
series of well-holes failed to supply him, 
he would sink another, drilling through 
the barfc with great ease and quickness. 
Then, when the day was warm, and the 
sap ran freely, he would have a regular 
sugar-maple debauch, sitting there by his 
wells hour after hour, and as fast as they 
became filled sipping out the sap. This he 

good friends of the trees been made to suf- 
fer for the sapsucker's sins? 

5. What is the color of the sapsucker: 
forehead, sides of head, back, wings, 
throat, upper and lower breast? What is 
the difference in color between the male 
and female? 

6. In what part of the country do the 
sapsuckers build their nests? Where do 
they make their nests and how? 


LEADING THOUGHT The sapsucker 
has a red cap, a red bib, and a yellow 
breast; it is our only woodpecker that does 
injury to trees. We should learn to distin- 
guish it from the downy and hairy, as the 
latter are among the best bird friends of 
the trees. 

METHOD Let the observations begin 
with the study of the trees (common al- 
most everywhere) which have been at- 
tacked by the sapsucker, and thus lead 
to an interest in the culprit. 

OBSERVATIONS i . Have you seen the 
work of the sapsucker? Are the holes 
drilled in rows completely around the 

did in a gentle, caressing manner that was 
very suggestive. He made a row of wells 
near the foot of the tree, and other rows 
higher up, and he would hop up and down 
the trunk as they became filled. " WIN- 

7 6 



The redhead is well named, for his hel- 
met and visor show a vivid glowing crim- 
son that stirs the sensibilities of the color 
lover. It is readily distinguished from the 
other woodpeckers because its entire head 
and bib are red. For the rest, it is a beauti- 
ful dark metallic blue with the lower back, 
a band across the wing, and the under parts 
white; its outer tail feathers are tipped 
with white. The female is colored like the 

L. A. Fuertes 

The redheaded woodpecker 

male, but the young have the head and 
breast gray, streaked with black and white, 
and the wings barred with black. It may 
make its nest by excavating a hole in a tree 
or a stump or even in a telegraph pole; the 
eggs are glossy white. This woodpecker is 
quite different in habits from the hairy 
and downy, as it likes to flit along from 
stump to fence post and catch insects on 
the wing, like a flycatcher. The only time 
that it pecks wood is when it is making a 
hole for its nest. 
As a drummer, the redhead is most 

adept and his roll is a long one. He is an 
adaptable fellow, and if there is no reso- 
nant dead limb at hand, he has been 
known to drum on tin roofs and lightning 
rods; and once we also observed him exe- 
cuting a most brilliant solo on the wire 
of a barbed fence. He is especially fond of 
beechnuts and acorns, and being a thrifty 
fellow as well as musical, in time of plenty 
he stores up food against time of need. He 
places his nuts in crevices and forks of the 
branches or in holes in trees or any other 
hiding place. He can shell a beechnut 
quite as cleverly as can the deer mouse; 
and he is own cousin to the carpenter 
woodpecker of the Pacific Coast, which 
is also redheaded and which drills holes 
in the oak trees wherein he drives acorns 
like pegs for later use. 

Leaflet 43; Mother Nature Series, by Fan- 
nie W. Dunn and Eleanor Troxell, Book 
3, In Field and Forest; Nature and Science 
Readers, by Edith M. Patch and Harrison 
E. Howe, Book i, Hunting; also, readings 
on pages 28-29. 


LEADING THOUGHT The redheaded 
woodpecker has very different habits from 
the downy and is not so useful to us. It 
lives upon nuts and fruit and such insects 
as it can catch upon the wing. 

METHOD If there is a redhead in the 
vicinity of your school the children will be 
sure to see it. Write the following ques- 
tions upon the blackboard and offer a 
prize to the first one who will make a note 
on where the redhead stores his winter 

OBSERVATIONS - 1. Can you tell the 
redhead from the other woodpeckers? 
What colors especially mark his plum- 

2. Where does the redhead nest? De- 
scribe eggs and nest. 


3. What have you observed the red- 
head eating? Have you noticed it storing 
nuts and acorns for the winter? Have you 
noticed it flying off with cherries or other 

4. What is the note of the redhead? 
Have you ever seen one drumming? 
What did he use for a drum? Did he come 
back often to this place to make his music? 


Another trait our woodpeckers have 
that endears them to me, and that has 
never been pointedly noticed by our orni- 
thologists, is their habit of drumming in 
the spring. They are songless birds, and yet 
all are musicians; they make the dry limbs 
eloquent of the coming change. Did you 
think that loud, sonorous hammering 
which proceeded from the orchard or 
from the near woods on that still March or 
April morning was only some bird getting 
its breakfast? It is downy, but he is not rap- 
ping at the door of a grub; he is rapping at 
the door of spring, and the dry limb thrills 
beneath the ardor of his blows. Or 7 later in 
the season, in the dense forest or by some 
remote mountain lake, does that meas- 
ured rhythmic beat that breaks upon the 
silence, first three strokes following each 
other rapidly, succeeded by two louder 
ones with longer intervals between them, 
and that has an effect upon the alert ear 
as if the solitude itself had at last found a 
voice does that suggest anything less 
than a deliberate musical performance? In 
fact, our woodpeckers are /ust as charac- 
teristically drummers as is the ruffed 

grouse, and they have their particular 
limbs and stubs to which they resort for 
that purpose. Their need of expression is 
apparently just as great as that of the song- 
birds, and it is not surprising that they 
should have found out that there is music 
in a dry, seasoned limb which can be 
evoked beneath their beaks. 

The woodpeckers do not each have a 
particular dry limb to which they resort at 
all times to drum, like the one I have de- 
scribed. The woods are fall of suitable 
branches, and they drum more or less here 
and there as they are in quest of food; yet I 
am convinced each one has its favorite 
spot, like the grouse, to which it resorts, es- 
pecially in the morning. The sugar-maker 
in the maple woods may notice that this 
sound proceeds from the same tree or trees 
about his camp with great regularity. A 
woodpecker in my vicinity has drummed 
for two seasons on a telegraph-pole ? and 
he makes the wires and glass insulators 
ring. Another drums on a thin board on 
the end of a long grape-arbor, and on still' 
mornings can be heard a long distance. 

A friend of mine in a Southern city tells 
me of a redheaded woodpecker that 
drums upon a lightning-rod on his neigh- 
bor's house. Nearly every clear, still morn- 
ing at certain seasons, he says, this musical 
rapping may be heard. " He alternates his 
tapping with his stridulous call, and the 
effect on a cool, autumn-like morning is 
very pleasing." " BIRDS, BEES AND SHARP 


The first time I ever saw a flicker I said, 
" What a wonderful meadowlark and 
what is it doing on that ant hill? " But an- 
other glance revealed to me a red spot on 
the back of the bird's neck, and as soon 
as I was sure that it was not a bloody gash, 
I knew that it marked no meadowlark. 
The top of the flicker's head and its back 
are slaty-gray, which is much enlivened by 
a bright red band across the nape of the 

neck. The tail is black above and yellow 
tipped with black below; the wings are 
black, but have a beautiful luminous yel- 
low beneath, which is very noticeable dur- 
ing flight. There is a locket adorning the 
breast; it is a thin, black crescent, much 
narrower than that of the meadowlark. 
Below the locket, the breast is yellowish 
white thickly marked with circular, black 
spots. The throat and sides of the head 


Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr. 

A brood of seven young flickers 

are pinkish brown, and the male has a 
black mustache extending backward from 
the beak with a very fashionable droop. 
Naturally enough the female, although 
she resembles her spouse, lacks his mus- 
tache. The beak is long, strong, somewhat 
curved and dark colored. This bird is dis- 
tinctly larger than the robin. The white 
patch on the rump shows little or not at 
all when the bird is at rest. This white 
mark is known as a " color call " for it 
has been said that it serves as a rear signal 
by means of which the flock of migrating 
birds are able to keep together in the 
night. The yellow-hammer's flight is wave- 
like and jerky quite different from that 
of the meadowlark; it does not stay so 
constantly in the meadows, but often fre- 
quents woods and orchards. 

The flicker has many names, such as 
golden-winged woodpecker, yellow-ham- 
mer, highhole, yarup, wake-up, clape, and 
many others. It earned the name of high- 
hole because of its habit of excavating its 
nest high up in trees, usually between ten 
and twenty-five feet from the ground. It 
especially loves an old apple tree as a site 
for a nest, and most of our large old or- 
chards can boast of a pair of these hand- 
some birds during the nesting season of 
May and June. The flicker is not above 

renting any house he finds vacant, exca- 
vated by some other birds last year. He 
earned his name of yarup or wake-up from 
his spring song, which is a rollicking, jolly 
" wick-a, wick-a, wick-a-wick " a song 
commonly heard the last of March or early 
April. The chief insect food of the flicker 
is ants, although it also eats beetles, flies, 
and wild fruit; it does little or no damage 
to planted crops. Its tongue has become 
modified, like that of the anteater; it is 
long and is covered with a sticky sub- 
stance; and when it is thrust into an ant 
hill, all of the little citizens, disturbed in 
their communal labors, at once bravely 
attack the intruder and become glued fast 
to it; they are thus withdrawn and trans- 
ferred to the capacious stomach of the 
bird. It has been known to eat three thou- 
sand ants at a single meal. 

Those who have observed the flicker 
during the courting season declare him 
to be the most silly and vain of all bird 
wooers. Mr. Baskett says: "When he 
wishes to charm his sweetheart he mounts 
a small twig near her, and lifts his wings, 
spreads his tail, and begins to nod right 
and left as he exhibits his mustache to his 
charmer. He sets his jet locket first on one 
side of the twig and then on the other. 
He may even go so far as to turn his head 
half around to show her the pretty spot 

A. A. Allen 

The male 'flicker has a black mustache 


on his back hair. In doing all this he per- 
forms the most ludicrous antics and has 
the silliest expression of face and voice as 
if in losing his heart, as some one phrases 
it, he had lost his head also." 

The nest hole is quite deep and the 
white eggs are from four to ten in num- 
ber. The feeding of the young flickers is a 
process painful to watch. The parent takes 
the food into its own stomach and par- 
tially digests it, then thrusts its own bill 
down the throat of the young one and 
pumps the soft food into it "kerchug, 
kerchug," until it seems as if the 
young one must be shaken to its foun- 
dations. The young flickers as soon as 
they leave the nest climb around freely 
on the home tree in a delightful, playful 

Biographies, by A. A. Allen; Audubon 
Bird Leaflet 5; Bird Stories from Bur- 
roughs, by John Burroughs; First Lessons 
in Nature Study, by Edith M. Patch; Na- 
ture and Science Readers, by Edith M. 
Patch and Harrison E. Howe, Book 5, 
Science at Home; also, readings on pages 

Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr. 

The female flicker 

Stanley Mythaler 

The homes of flickers 


LEADING THOUGHT The flicker is a 
true woodpecker but has changed its hab- 
its and spends much of its time in mead- 
ows hunting for ants and other insects; 
it makes its nest in trunks of trees, like 
its relatives. It can be distinguished from 
the meadowlark by the white patch above 
the tail which shows during flight. 

METHOD This is one of the most im- 
portant of the birds of the meadow. The 
work may be done in September, when 
there are plenty of young flickers which 
have not learned to be wary. The observa- 
tions may be made in the field, a few ques- 
tions being given at a time. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Where do you 
find the flicker in the summer and early 
autumn? How can you tell it from the 
meadowlark in color and in flight? 

2. What is it doing in the meadows? 
How does it manage to trap ants? 

3. What is the size of the flicker as com- 
pared to the robin? What is its general 
color as compared to the meadowlark? 

4. Describe the colors of the flicker as 
follows: top and sides of the head, back 
of the neck, lower back, tail, wings, throat, 
and breast. Describe the color and shape of 
the beak. Is there a difference in markings 
between the males and females? 



5. Does the patch of white above the 
tail show, except when the bird is flying? 
Of what use is this to the bird? 

6. What is the flicker's note? At what 
time of spring do you hear it first? 

7. Where does the flicker build its nest 
and how? What is the color of the eggs? 
How many are there? 

8. How does it feed its young? How do 
the young flickers act? 

9. How many names do you know for 
the flicker? 

The high-hole appears to drum more 
promiscuously than does the downy. He 
utters his long, loud spring call, whick- 

whick-whick, and then begins to rap with 
his beak upon his perch before the last 
note has reached your ear. I have seen him 
drum sitting upon the ridge of the barn. 
The log-code, or pileated woodpecker, the 
largest and wildest of our Northern spe- 
cies, I have never heard drum. His blows 
should wake the echoes. 

When the woodpecker is searching for 
food, or laying siege to some hidden grub, 
the sound of his hammering is dead or 
muffled, and is heard but a few yards. It is 
only upon dry, seasoned timber, freed of 
its bark, that he beats his reveille to spring 
and woos his mate. " BIRDS, BEES AND 


The meadowlark 

L. A. Fuertes 

The first intimation we have in early 
spring that the meadowlark is again with 
us comes to us through his soft, sweet, 
sad note which Van Dyke describes so 
graphically when he says it " leaks slowly 
upward from the ground." One wonders 
how a bird can express happiness in these 
melancholy, sweet, slurred notes, and yet 
undoubtedly it is a song expressing joy, 

the joy of returning home, the happiness 
of love and of nest building. 

The meadowlark, as is indicated by its 
name, is a bird of the meadow. It is often 
confused with another bird of the meadow 
which has very different habits, the flicker. 
The two are approximately of the same 
size and color and each has a black cres- 
cent or locket on the breast and each 
shows the " white feather " during flight. 
The latter is the chief distinguishing char- 
acteristic; the outer tail feathers of the 
meadowlark are white, while the tail feath- 
ers of the flicker are not white at all, but it 
has a single patch of white on the rump. 
The flight of the two is quite different. 
The lark lifts itself by several sharp move- 
ments and then soars smoothly over the 
course, while the flicker makes a continu- 
ous up-and-down, wavelike flight. The 
songs of the two would surely never be 
confused, for the meadowlark is among 
our sweetest singers, to which class the 
flicker with his " flick-a-flick " hardly be- 

The colors of the meadowlark are most 
harmonious shades of brown and yellow, 
well set off by the black locket on its 
breast. Its wings are light brown, each 
feather being streaked with black and 
brown; the line above the eye is yellow, 
bordered with black above and below; a 



buff line extends from the beak backward 
over the crown. The wings are light brown 
and have a mere suggestion of white bars; 
portions of the outer feathers on each side 
of the tail are white, but this white does 
not show except during flight. The sides 
of the throat are greenish, the middle part 
and breast are lemon-yellow, with the 
large, black crescent just below the throat. 
The beak is long, strong, and black, and 
the meadowlark is decidedly a low-browed 
bird, the forehead being only slightly 
higher than the upper part of the beak. It 
is a little larger than the robin, which it 
rivals in plumpness. 

The meadowlark has a particular liking 
for meadows which border streams. It 
sings when on the ground, on the bush 
or fence and while on the wing; and it 
sings during the entire period of its north- 
ern stay, from April to November, ex- 
cept while it is moulting in late summer, 
Mr. Mathews, who is an eminent author- 
ity on bird songs, says that the meadow- 
larks of New York have a different song 
from those of Vermont or Nantucket, al- 
though the music has always the same 
general characteristics. The western spe- 
cies has a longer and more complex song 
than ours of the East. It is one of the few 
California birds that is a genuine joy to 
the eastern visitor; during February and 
March its heavenly music is as pervasive 
as the California sunshine. 

The meadowlark's arched nest 

R. W. Hegner 

A father prairie horned lark at his nest. 
These birds nest in early March, and often 
snow falls on the nest and brooding bird 

The nest is built in a depression in the 
ground near a tuft of grass; it is con- 
structed of coarse grass and sticks and is 
lined with finer grass; there is usually a 
dome of grass blades woven above the 
nest; and often a long, covered vestibule 
leading to the nest is made in a similar 
fashion. This is evidently for protection 
from the keen eyes of hawks and crows. 
The eggs are laid about the last of May 
and are usually from five to seven in num- 
ber; they are white, speckled with brown 
and purple. The young meadowlarks are 
usually large enough to be out of the way 
before haying time in July. 

The food of the meadowlark during the 
entire year consists almost exclusively of 
insects which destroy the grass of our 
meadows. It eats great quantities of grass- 
hoppers, cutworms, chinch bugs, army 
worms, wireworms, and weevils, and also 
destroys some weed seeds. Each pupil 
should make a diagram in his notebook 
showing the proportions of the meadow- 
lark's different kinds of food. This may be 
copied from Audubon Leaflet 3. Everyone 
should use his influence to the uttermost 
to protect this valuable bird. It has been 
estimated that the meadowlarks save to 
every township where hay is produced, 
twenty-five dollars each year on this crop 

Leaflets 3 and 111; Holiday Meadow, by 
Edith M. Patch; also, readings on pages 





LEADING THOUGHT The meadowlark 
is of great value in delivering the grass of 
our meadows from insect destroyers. It has 
a song which we all know; it can be iden- 
tified by color as a large, light brown bird 
with white feathers on each side of the 
tail, and in flight by its quick up-and- 
down movements finishing with long, low, 
smooth sailing. 

METHOD September and October are 
good months for observations on the 
flight, song, and appearance of the mead- 
owlark, and also for learning how to dis- 
tinguish it from the flicker. The notes 
must be made by the pupils in the field, 
and after they know the bird and its song 
let them, if they have opportunity, study 
the bird books and bulletins, and prepare 
written accounts of the way the meadow- 
lark builds its nest and of its economic 

OBSERVATIONS i. Where have you 
seen the meadowlark? Did you ever see it 
in the woods? Describe its flight. How can 
you identify it by color when it is flying? 
How do its white patches and its flight dif- 
fer from those of the flicker? 

2. Try to imitate the meadowlarFs 
notes by song or whistle. Does it sing 
while on the ground, or on a bush or fence, 
or during flight? 

3. Note the day when you hear its last 
song in the fall and also its first song in the 
spring. Does it sing during August and 
September? Why? Where does it spend 
the winter? On what does it feed while in 
the South? 

4. Is the meadowlark larger or smaller 
than the robin? Describe from your own 
observations, as far as possible, the colors 
of the meadowlark as follows: top of head, 
line above the eye, back, wings, tail, 
throat, breast, locket, color and shape of 
beak. Make a sketch of your own or a 
copy from Louis Fuertes 7 excellent picture 
of the meadowlark in the Audubon Leaf- 
let, and color it accurately. 

5. When is the nest built; where is it 
placed; of what material is it built? How is 
it protected from sight from above? Why 
this protection? How many eggs are there 
in the nest? What are their colors and 

6. What is the food of the meadow- 
lark? Copy the diagram from the Audu- 
bon Leaflet, showing the proportions of 
the different kinds of insects which it de- 

Sweet, sweet, sweet/ O happy that I am! 
(Listen to the meadow-larks, across the 

fields that sing/) 
Sweet, sweet, sweet/ O subtle breath of 


O winds that blow, O buds that grow, 
O rapture of the spring/ 

Sweet, sweet, sweet/ O happy world that 

is/ ' 
Dear heart, I hear across the fields my 

mateling pipe and call 
Sweet, sweet, sweet/ O world so full of 


For life is love, the world is love, and 
love is overall/ 



English sparrows at a feeding station 

S. A. Grimes 


So dainty in plumage and hue, 

A study in grey and in brown ? 
How little, how little we knew 

The pest he would prove to the town/ 
From dawn until daylight grows dim. 

Perpetual chatter and scold. 
No winter migration for him, 

Not even afraid of the cold/ 
Scarce a song-bird he fails to molest, 

Belligerent, meddlesome thing/ 
Wherever he goes as a guest 

He is sure to remain as a King. 


The English sparrow, like the poor and 
the housefly, is always with us; and since 
he is here to stay, let us make him useful 
if we can devise any means of doing so. 
There is no bird that gives the pupils a 
more difficult exercise in describing colors 
and markings than does he; and his wife 
is almost equally difficult. I have known 
fairly skilled ornithologists to be misled 
by some variation in color of the hen spar- 
row, and it is safe to assert that the ma- 
jority of people " do not know her from 
Adam/' The male has the top of the head 
gray with a patch of reddish brown on 
either side; the middle of the throat and 

upper breast is black; the sides of the 
throat white; the lower breast and under 
parts grayish white; the back is brown 
streaked with black; the tail is brown, 
rather short, and not notched at the tip; 
the wings are brown with two white bars 
and a jaunty dash of reddish brown. The 
female has the head grayish brown, the 
breast, throat, and under parts grayish 
white; the back is brown streaked with 
black and dirty yellow, and she is, on the 
whole, a " washed out " looking lady bird. 
The differences in color and size between 
the English sparrow and the chippy are 
quite noticeable, as the chippy is an inch 


shorter and far more slender in appear- 
ance, and is especially marked by the red- 
dish brown crown. 

When feeding, the English sparrows 
are aggressive, and their lack of table man- 
ners make them the " goops " among all 
birds; in the winter they settle in noisy 
flocks on the street to pick up the grain 
undigested by the horses, or in barnyards 
where the grain has been scattered by the 
farm animals. They only eat weed seeds 
when other food fails them in the winter, 
for they are civilized birds even if they do 
not act so, and they much prefer the culti- 
vated grains. It is only during the nesting 
season that they destroy insects to any 
extent; over one-half the food of nestlings 
is insects, such as weevils, grasshoppers, 
cutworms, etc.; but this good work is 
largely offset by the fact that these same 
nestlings will soon give their grown-up 
energies to attacking grain fields, taking 
the seed after sowing, later the new grain 
in the milk, and later still the ripened 
grain in the sheaf. Wheat, oats, rye, bar- 
ley, corn, sorghum, and rice are thus at- 
tacked. Once I saw on the upper Nile a 
native boat loaded with millet which was 
attacked by thousands of sparrows; when 
driven off by the sailors they would perch 
on the rigging like flies, and as soon as the 
men turned their backs they would drop 
like bullets to the deck and gobble the 
grain before they were again driven off. 
English sparrows also destroy for us the 
buds and blossoms of fruit trees and often 
attack the ripening fruit. 

The introduction of the English spar- 
row into America is one of the greatest ar- 
guments possible in favor of nature-study; 
for ignorance of nature-study methods in 
this single instance costs the United 
States millions of dollars every year. The 
English sparrow is the European house 
sparrow, and people had a theory that it 
was an insect eater, but never took the 
pains to ascertain if this theory were a fact. 
About 1850, some people with more zeal 
than wisdom introduced these birds into 
New York, and for twenty years after- 
wards there were other importations of 
the sparrows. In twenty years more, peo- 

ple discovered that they had taken great 
pains to establish in our country one of the 
worst nuisances in all Europe. In addition 
to all the direct damage which the English 
sparrows do, they are so quarrelsome that 
they have driven away many of our native 
beneficial birds from our premises, and 
now vociferously acclaim their presence in 
places which were once the haunts of birds 
with sweet songs. After they drive off the 
other birds they quarrel among them- 
selves, and there is no rest for tired ears in 
their vicinity. There are various noises 
made by these birds which we can under- 
stand if we are willing to take the pains: 
the harassing chirping is their song; they 
squall when frightened and peep plain- 
tively when lonesome, and make a dis- 
agreeable racket when fighting. 

But to "give the devil his due" we 
must admit that the house sparrow is as 
clever as it is obnoxious, and its success is 
doubtless partly due to its superior clever- 
ness and keenness. It is quick to take a 
hint, if sufficiently pointed; firing a shot- 
gun twice into a flock of these birds has 
driven them from our premises; and tear- 
ing down their nests assiduously for a 
month seems to convey to them the idea 
that they are not welcome. Another in- 
stance of their cleverness I witnessed one 
day: I was watching a robin, worn and 
nervous with her second brood, fervently 
hunting earthworms in the lawn to fill the 
gaping mouths in the nest in the Virginia 
creeper shading the piazza. She finally 
pulled up a large, pink worm, and a hen 
sparrow flew at her viciously; the robin 
dropped the worm to protect herself, and 
the sparrow snatched it and carried it off 
triumphantly to the grape arbor where 
she had a nest of her own full of gaping 
mouths. She soon carne back, and at a 
safe distance watched the robin pull out 
another worm, and by the same tactics 
again gained the squirming prize. Three 
times was this repeated in an hour, and 
then the robin, discouraged, flew up into 
a Norway spruce and in a monologue of 
sullen duckings tried to reason out what 
had happened. 

The English sparrow's nest is quite in 


keeping with the bird's other qualities; it 
is usually built in a hole or box or in some 
protected corner beneath the eaves; it is 
also often built in vines on buildings and 
occasionally in trees. It is a good example 
of " fuss and feathers "; coarse straw, or 
any other kind of material, and feathers of 
hens or of other birds, mixed together 
without fashion or form, constitute the 
nest. In these sprawling nests the whitish, 
brown or gray-flecked eggs are laid and 
the young reared; several broods are reared 
by one pair in a season. The nesting begins 
almost as soon as the snow is off the 
ground and lasts until late fall. 

During the winter, the sparrows gather 
in flocks in villages and cities, but in the 
spring they scatter out through the coun- 
try where they can find more grain. The 
only place where this bird is welcome is 
possibly in the heart of a great city, where 
no other bird could pick up a livelihood. 
It is a true cosmopolite and is the first bird 
to greet the traveler in Europe or northern 
Africa. These sparrows will not build in 
boxes suspended by a wire; and they do 
not like a box where there is no resting 
place in front of the door leading to the 

Biographies, by A. A. Allen; Audubon 
Bird Leaflet 90; Bird Friends, by Gilbert 
H. Trafton; English Sparrow Control 
(U. S. Department of Agriculture, Leaflet 
61); Lives of the Hunted, by Ernest 
Thompson Seton (A Street Troubadour); 
Mother Nature Series, by Fannie W. 
Dunn and Eleanor Troxell, Book 3, In 
Field and Forest; see also readings on 
pages 28-29. 


LEADING THOUGHT The English spar- 
row was introduced into America by peo- 
ple who knew nothing of its habits. It has 
finally overrun our whole country, and to 
a great extent has driven out from towns 
and villages our useful American song 
birds; it should be discouraged and not 
allowed to nest around our houses and 

A. A. Allen 

The sprawling nest of the English sparrow 

grounds. As a sparrow it has interesting 
habits which we should observe. 

METHOD Let the pupils make their 
observations in the street or wherever they 
find the birds. The greatest value of this 
lesson is to teach the pupils to observe the 
coloring and markings of a bird accurately 
and describe them clearly. This is the best 
of training for later work with the wild 

OBSERVATIONS i. How many kinds of 
birds do you find in a flock of English spar- 

2. The ones with the black cravat are 
naturally the men of the family, while 
their sisters, wives, and mothers are less 
ornamented. Describe in your notebook 
or from memory the colors of the cock 
sparrow as follows: top of head, sides of 
the head, the back, the tail, the wings, 
wing bars, throat and upper breast, lower 
breast and under parts. 

3 . Describe the hen sparrow in the same 
manner and note the difference in mark- 
ings between the two. Are the young birds, 
when they first fly, like the father or the 

4. Compare the English sparrow with 
the chippy and describe the differences 
in size and color. 

5. Is the tail when the bird is not flying 
square across the end or notched? 



6. What is the shape of the beak? For 
what sort of food is it adapted? 

7. What is the food of the English 
sparrows and where do they find it? De- 
scribe the actions of a flock feeding in the 
yard or street. Are the English sparrows 
kindly or quarrelsome in disposition? 

8. Why do the English sparrows stay 
in the North during the coldest of win- 
ters? Do they winter out in the country or 
in villages? 

9. Describe by observation how they 
try to drive away robins or other native 

10. Describe the nest of this sparrow. 
Of what material is it made? How is it sup- 
ported? How sheltered? Is it a well-built 

11. Describe the eggs. How many 

broods are raised a year? What kind of 
food do the parents generally give the 

12. If you have ever seen these sparrows 
do anything interesting, describe the cir- 

13. In what ways are these birds a nui- 
sance to us? 

14. How much of English sparrow talk 
do you understand? 

15. How can we build bird-boxes so 
that the English sparrows will not try to 
take possession of them? 

Do not tire the child with questions; 
lead him to question you, instead. Be sure, 
in any case, that he is more interested in 
the subject than in the questions about 
the subject. 


Leonard K. Beyer 

A chipping sparrow on its nest , 

This midget lives in our midst, and yet 
among all bird kind there is not another 
which so ignores us as does the chippy. 
It builds its nest about our houses, it 
hunts for food all over our premises, it 
sings like a tuneful grasshopper in our 
ears, it brings up its young to disregard 

us, and every hour of the day it " tsip- 
tsips " us to scorn. And, although it has 
well earned the name of " doorstep spar- 
row/' since it frugally gathers the crumbs 
about our kitchen doors, yet it rarely be- 
comes tame or can be induced to eat 
from the hand, unless it is trained so to 
do as a nestling. 

Its cinnamon-brown cap and tiny black 
forehead, the gray streak over the eye and 
the black through it, the gray cheeks and 
the pale gray, unspotted breast distinguish 
it from the other sparrows, although its 
brown back streaked with darker coloi, 
and brown wings and blackish tail, have a 
very sparrowish look; the two whitish wing 
bars are not striking; it has a bill fitted for 
shelling seeds, a characteristic of all the 
sparrows. Despite its seed-eating bill, the 
chippy's food is about one-third insects, 
and everyone should know that this little 
bird does good to our gardens and trees. 
It takes in large numbers cabbage cater- 
pillars, pea lice, the beet leaf-miners, leaf 
hoppers, grasshoppers, and cutworms, and 
does its share in annihilating the cater- 
pillars of the terrible gypsy and browntail 
moths. In fact, it works for our benefit 
even in its vegetable food, as this consists 



largely of the seeds of weeds and unde- 
sirable grasses. It will often fly up from 
its perch after flies or moths/ like a fly- 
catcher; and the next time we note it, it 
will be hopping around hunting for the 
crumbs we have scattered for it on the 
porch floor. The song of the chippy is 
more interesting to it than to us; it is a 
continuous performance of high ? shrill, 
rapid notes, all alike so far as I can detect; 
when it utters many of these in rapid suc- 
cession it is singing, but when it gives 
them singly they are call notes or mere 

One peculiarity of the nest has given 
this sparrow the common name of hair- 
bird, for the lining is almost always of 
long, coarse hair, usually treasure trove 
from the tails of horses or cattle, switched 
off against boards, burs, or other obstacles. 
Of the many nests I have examined, black 
horsehair was the usual lining; but two 
nests in our yard show the chippy to be 
a resourceful bird; evidently the hair mar- 
ket was exhausted and the soft, dead 
needles of the white pine were used in- 
stead and made a most satisfactory lining. 
The nest is tiny and shallow; the outside 
is of fine grass or rootlets carefully but 
not closely woven together; it is placed 

A. A. Allen 

A cowbird laid the large egg in Ihis chip- 
ping sparrow's nest. The cowbird depends 
upon other birds to brood its eggs and care 
for its young 

A. A. Allen 

" The breadline!' Young chipping sparrows 
being fed by one of their parents 

in vine or tree, usually not more than 
ten or fifteen feet from the ground; a 
vine on a house is a favorite nesting site. 
Once a bold pair built directly above the 
entrance to our front door and mingled 
cheerfully with other visitors. Usually, 
however, the nest is so hidden that it 
is not discovered until after the leaves 
have fallen. The eggs are light blue tinged 
with green, with fine, purplish brown 
specks or markings scrawled about the 
larger end. 

The chippy comes to us in early spring 
and usually raises two broods of from 
three to five " piggish " youngsters, which 
even after they are fully grown follow 
pertinaciously their tired and " frazzled 
out " parents and beg to be fed; the chippy 
parents evidently have no idea of disci- 
pline but indulge their teasing progeny 
until our patience, at least, is exhausted. 
The young differ from the parents in hav- 
ing streaked breasts and lacking the red- 
dish crown. In the fall the chippy par- 
ents lose their red-brown caps and have 
streaked ones instead; and then they fare 
forth in flocks for a seed-harvest in the 
fields. Thereafter our chippy is a stranger 
to us; we do not know it in its new garb, 
and it dodges into the bushes as we pass, 
as if it had not tested our harmlessness on 
our own door-stone. 

Leaflet 80; Bird-House to Let, by Mary F. 
Terrel; Bird Stories from Burroughs, by 
John Burroughs; Mother Nature Series, 
by Fannie W. Dunn and Eleanor Trox- 


ell, Book 3, In Field and Forest; also, read- 
ings on pages 28-29. 


sparrow is a cheerful and useful little 
neighbor. It builds a nest, lined with 
horsehair, in the shrubbery and vines 
about our homes and works hard in rid- 
ding our gardens of insect pests and seeds 
of weeds. 

METHOD Begin this lesson with a 
nest of the chippy, which is so unmistak- 
able that it may be collected and identi- 
fied in the winter. Make the study of this 
nest so interesting that the pupils will 
wait anxiously to watch for the birds 
which made it. As soon as the chippies 
appear, the questions should be asked, a 
few at a time, giving the children several 
weeks for the study. 


OBSERVATIONS i . Where was this 
nest found? How high from the ground? 

2. Was it under shelter? How was it 

3. Of what material is the outside of 
the nest? How is it fastened together? 
How do you suppose the bird wove this 
material together? 

4. Of what material is the lining? Why 
is the bird that built this nest called the 
" hair-bird "? From what animal do you 
think the lining of the nest came? How do 
you suppose the bird got it? 

5. Do you think the nest was well hid- 
den when the leaves were about it? Meas- 
ure the nest across and also its depth; do 
you think the bird that made it is as large 
as the English sparrow? 


6. How can you tell the chippy from 
the English sparrow? 

7. Describe the colors of the chippy as 
follows: beak, forehead, crown, marks 
above and through the eyes, cheeks, 
throat, breast, wings, and tail. Note if the 
wings have whitish bars and how many. 

8. Describe the shape of the beak as 
compared with that of the robin. What 
is this shaped bill adapted for? 

9. What is the food of the chippy? 
Why has it been called the doorstep 

10. Note whether the chippy catches 
flies or moths on the wing like the phcebe. 

1 1 . Why should we protect the chippy 
and try to induce it to live near our 

12. Does it run or hop when seeking 
food on the ground? 

13. How early in the season does the 
chippy appear and where does it spend 
the winter? 

14. Can you describe the chippy's 
song? How do you think it won the name 
of chipping sparrow? 

15. If you have the luck to find a pair 
of chippies nesting, keep a diary of your 
observations in your notebook covering 
the following points: Do both parents 
build the nest? Flow is the framework 
laid? How is the finishing done? What is 
the number and color of the eggs? Do 
both parents feed the young? How do 
young chippies act when they first leave 
the nest? How large are the young birds 
before the parents stop feeding them? 
What are the differences in color and 
markings between parents and young? 


A bubble of music floats, the slope of the 
hillside over; 

A little wandering sparrow's notes; and 
the bloom of yarrow and clover, 

And the smell of sweet-fern and the bay- 
berry leaf, on his ripple of song are 

For he is a cheerful thief, the wealth of 
the fields revealing. 

One syllable, clear and soft as a raindrop's 

silvery patter, 
Or a tinkling fairy-bell; heard aloft, in the 

midst of the merry chatter 
Of robin and linnet and wren and /"ay, one 

syllable, oft repeated; 
He has but a word to say, and of that he 

will not be cheated. 



The singer I have not seen; but the song 

I arise and follow 
The brown hills over, the pastures green, 

and into the sunlit hollow. 
With a joy that his life unto mine has 

lent, I can feel my glad eyes glisten, 
Though he hides in his happy tent, while 

I stand outside, and listen. 

This way would I also sing, my dear little 

hillside neighbor! 
A tender carol of peace to bring to the 

sunburnt fields of labor 
Is better than making a loud ado; trill on, 

amid clover and yarrow/ 
There's a heart-beat echoing you, and 

blessing you, blithe little sparrow/ 



He does not wear a Joseph's coat of many colors, smart and gay 
His suit is Quaker brown and gray, with darker patches at his throat. 
And yet of all the well-dressed throng, not one can sing so brave a song. 
It makes the pride of looks appear a vain and foolish thing to hear 
In " Sweet, sweet, sweet, very merry cheer. " 

A lofty place he does not love, he sits by choice and well at ease 

In hedges and in little trees, that stretch their slender arms above 

The meadow brook; and then he sings till all the field with pleasure rings; 

And so he tells in every ear, that lowly homes to heaven are near 

In " Sweet, sweet, sweet, very merry cheer." 


Children may commit to memory the 
poem from which the above stanzas were 
taken; seldom in literature have detailed 
accurate observation and poetry been so 
happily combined as in these verses. The 
lesson might begin in March when we 
are all listening eagerly for bird voices, and 
the children should be asked to look out 
for a little, brown bird which sings, 
" Sweet, sweet, sweet, very merry cheer," 
or, as Thoreau interprets it, " Maids! 
Maids! Maids! Hang on the teakettle, 
teakettle-ettle-ettle." In early childhood 
I learned to distinguish this sparrow by its 
"Teakettle" song. Besides this song, it 
has others quite as sweet; and when 
alarmed it utters a sharp "Tchink, 

The song sparrow prefers the neighbor- 
hood of brooks and ponds which are bor- 
dered with bushes, and also the hedges 
planted by nature along rail or other field 
fences, and it has a special liking for the 
shrubbery about gardens. Its movements 
and flight are very characteristic; it usually 

sits on the tip-top of a shrub or low tree 
when it sings; when disturbed, however, 
it never rises in the air but drops into a low 

Leonard K. Beyer 

The song sparrow usually builds its nest on 
the ground 

flight and plunges into a thicket with a 
defiant twitch of the tail which says 
plainly, " Find me if you can." 


A. A. Allen 

The eggs are bluish white with many brown 

The color and markings of this bird 
are typical of the sparrows. The head is 
a warm brown with a gray streak along 
the center of the crown and one above 
each eye, with a dark line through the eye. 
The back is brown with darker streaks. 
The throat is white with a dark spot on 
either side; the breast is white spotted 
with brown with a large, dark blotch at 
its very center; this breast blotch distin- 
guishes this bird from all other sparrows. 
The tail and wings are brown and without 
buff or white bars or other markings. The 
tail is long, rounded, and very expressive 
of emotions, and makes the bird look 
more slender than the English sparrow. 

The nest is usually placed on the ground 
or in low bushes not more than five feet 
from the ground; it varies much in both 
size and material; it is sometimes con- 
structed of coarse weeds and grasses; and 
sometimes only fine grass is used. Some- 
times it is lined with hair, and again, with 
fine grass; sometimes it is deep, but oc- 
casionally is shallow. The eggs have a 
whitish ground-color tinged with blue or 
green, but are so blotched and marked 
with brown that they are safe from ob- 
servation of enemies. The nesting season 
begins in May, and there are usually three 
and sometimes four broods; but so far as 
I have observed, a nest is never used for 

two consecutive broods. The song spar- 
rows stay with us in New York State very 
late in the fall, and a few stay in sheltered 
places all winter. The quality in this bird 
which endears him to us all is the spirit 
of song which stays with him; his sweet 
trill may be heard almost any month of 
the year, and he has a charming habit of 
singing in his dreams. 

The song sparrow is not only the dearest 
of little neighbors, but it also works lustily 
for our good and for its own food at the 
same time. It destroys cutworms, plant 
lice, caterpillars, canker-worms, ground 
beetles, grasshoppers, and flies; in winter 
it destroys thousands of weed seeds, which 
otherwise would surely plant themselves 
to our undoing. Every boy and girl should 
take great pains to drive away stray cats 
and to teach the family puss not to meddle 
with birds; for cats are the worst of all 
the song sparrow's enemies, destroying 
thousands of its nestlings every year. 

Leaflet 31; Bird Stories from Burroughs, 
by John Burroughs; Mother Nature Series, 
by Fannie W. Dunn and Eleanor Trox- 
ell, Book 3, In Field and Forest; also, 
readings on pages 28-29. 


LEADING THOUGHT The beautiful 
song of this sparrow is usually heard earlier 
in the spring than the notes of bluebird 
or robin. The dark blotch in the center of 
its speckled breast distinguishes this spar- 
row from all others; it is very beneficial 
and should be protected from cats. 

" Sweet, sweet, sweet, very merry cheer " 


METHOD All the observations of the 
song sparrow must be made in the field, 
and they are easily made because the bird 
builds near houses, in gardens, and in the 
shrubbery. Poetry and other literature 
about the song sparrow should be given 
to the pupils to read or to memorize. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Have you noticed 
a little brown bird singing a very sweet 
song in the early spring? Did the song 
sound as if set to the words " Little Maid! 
Little, Maid! Little Maid! Put on the tea- 
kettle, teakettle-ettle-ettle "? 

2. Where was this bird when you heard 
him singing? How high was he perched 
above the ground? What other notes did 
you hear him utter? 

3. Describe the colors and markings of 
the song sparrow on head, back, throat, 
breast, wings, and tail. Is this bird as large 
as the English sparrow? What makes it 
look more slim? 

4. How can you distinguish the song 
sparrow from the other sparrows? When 
disturbed does it fly up or down? How 
does it gesture with its tail as it disappears 
in the bushes? 

5. Where and of what material does 
the song sparrow build its nest? 

6. What colors and markings are on 
the eggs? Do you think these colors and 
markings are useful in concealing the eggs 
when the mother bird leaves the nest? 

7. How late in the season do you see 
the song sparrows and hear their songs? 

8. How can we protect these charming 
little birds and induce them to build near 
our houses? 


9. What is the food of the song spar- 
rows and how do they benefit our fields 
and gardens? Name some of the injurious 
insects that they eat. 

Have you ever heard of the Sing-away 


That sings where the Runaway River 
Runs down with its rills from the bald- 
headed hills 

That stand in the sunshine and shiver? 
" Oh, sing! sing-away! sing-away/ " 
How the pines and the birches are stirred 
By the trill of the Sing-away bird/ 

And the bald-headed hills, with their 

rocks and their rills, 
To the tune of his rapture are ringing; 

And their faces grow young, all the gray 

mists among, 

While the forests break forth into sing- 

" Oh, sing/ sing-away/ sing-awayl " 

And the river runs singing along; 

And the flying winds catch up the song. 

Twas a white-throated sparrow, that sped 

a light arrow 

Of song from his musical quiver, 
And it pierced with its spell every valley 

and dell 

On the banks of the Runaway River, 
" Oh, sing/ sing-away/ sing-away/ " 
The song of the wild singer had 
The sound of a soul that is glad. 



Among all the vocalists in the bird 
world, the mockingbird is seldom rivaled 
in the variety and richness of his repertoire. 
The mockingbirds go as far north as south- 
ern New England, but they are found at 
their best in the Southern states and 
in California. On the Gulf Coast the 
mockers begin singing in February; in 
warmer climates they sing almost the 
year through. During the nesting season, 

the father mocker is so busy with his cares 
and duties during the day that he does not 
have time to sing, and so he devotes the 
nights to serenading; he may sing almost 
all night long if there is moonlight, and 
even on dark nights he gives now and 
then a happy, sleepy song. Not all mock- 
ingbirds are mockers; some sing their own 
song, which is rich and beautiful; while 
others learn, in addition, not only the 


L. A. Fuertes 

The mockingbird 

songs of other birds, but their call notes as 
well. One authority noted a mocker which 
imitated the songs of twenty species of 
birds during a ten-minute performance. 
When singing, the mocker shows his re- 
lationship to the brown thrasher by lift- 
ing the head and depressing and jerking 
the tail. A good mocker will learn a tune, 
or parts of it, if it is whistled often enough 
in his hearing; he will also imitate other 
sounds and will often improve on a song 
he has learned from another bird by intro- 
ducing frills of his own; when learning 
a song, he sits silent and listens intently, 
but will not try to sing it until it is learned. 
Although the mockingbirds live in wild 
places, they prefer the haunts of men, tak- 
ing up their home sites in gardens and 
cultivated grounds. Their flight is rarely 
higher than the tree tops and is decidedly 
jerky in character with much twitching of 
the long tail. For nesting sites, they choose 
thickets or the lower branches of trees, be- 
ing especially fond of orange trees; the 
nest is usually from four to twenty feet 
from the ground. The foundation of the 
nest is made of sticks, grasses, and weed 
stalks interlaced and crisscrossed; on these 
is built the nest of softer materials, such 
as rootlets, horsehair, cotton, or in fact 

anything suitable which is at hand. The 
nest is often in plain sight, since the 
mocker trusts to his strength as a fighter 
to protect it. He will attack cats with great 
ferocity and vanquish them; he will often 
kill snakes; good-sized black snakes have 
been known to end thus; he will also drive 
away birds much larger than himself. In 
making his attack, the mocker hovers 
above his enemy and strikes it at the back 
of the head or neck. 

The female lays from four to six pale 
greenish or bluish eggs blotched with 
brown which hatch in about two weeks; 
then comes a period of hard work for the 
parents, as both are indefatigable in catch- 
ing insects to feed the young. The mocker, 
by the way, is an amusing sight as he 
chases a beetle on the ground, lifting his 
wings in a pugnacious fashion. The mock- 
ers often raise three broods a season; the 
young birds have spotted breasts, showing 
their relationship to the thrasher. 

As a wooer, the mocker is a bird of 
much ceremony and dances into his lady's 
graces. Mrs. F. W. Rowe, in describing 
this, says that the birds stand facing each 
other with heads and tails erect and wings 
drooping; " then the dance would begin, 
and this consisted of the two hopping 
sideways in the same direction and in 
rather a straight line a few inches at a 

* : '''''" " ' / "I ' >'S^*"N|jS' 

A. A. Allen 

A mockingbird on her nest in a thicket 



time, always keeping directly opposite 
each other and about the same distance 
apart. They would chassez this way four 
or five feet, then go back over the same 
line in the same manner/ 7 Mrs. Rowe 
also observed that the male mockers have 
hunting preserves of their own, not allow- 
ing any other males of their species in 
these precincts. The boundary was sus- 
tained by tactics of both offense and 
defense; but certain other species of 
birds were allowed to trespass without 

Maurice Thompson describes in a de- 
lightful manner the " mounting " and 
" dropping " songs of the mocker which 
occur during the wooing season. The 
singer flits up from branch to branch of 
a tree, singing as he goes, and finally on 
the topmost bough gives his song of tri- 
umph to the world; then, reversing the 
process, he falls backward from spray to 
spray, as if drunk with the ecstasy of his 
own song, which is an exquisitely soft 
" gurgling series of notes, liquid and sweet, 
that seem to express utter rapture." 

The mockingbirds have the same colors 
in both sexes; the head is black, the back 
is ashy-gray; the tail and wings are so 
dark brown that they look black; the tail 
is very long and has the outer tail feathers 
entirely white and the two next inner ones 
are white for more than half their length; 
the wings have a strikingly broad, white 
bar, which is very noticeable when the 
bird is flying. The under parts and breast 
are grayish white; the beak and legs are 
blackish. The food of the mockingbirds 
is about half insects and half fruit. They 
live largely on the berries of the red cedar, 
myrtle, and holly, and we must confess are 
often too much devoted to the fruits in our 
orchards and gardens; but let us put down 
to their credit that they do their best to 
exterminate the cotton boll caterpillars 
and moths, and also many other insects 
injurious to crops. 

The mocker is full of tricks and is dis- 
tinctly a bird of humor. He will frighten 
other birds by screaming like a hawk and 
then seem to chuckle over the joke. 

Sidney Lanier describes him well: 

^f^^ii^m,,^.^ ,.._ . 
%M . ; 


Leonard K. Beyer 

The brown thrasher, a close relative of the 
mockingbird; is also an accomplished musi- 

Whatever birds did or dreamed, tin's bird 

could say. 

Then down lie shot, bounced airily along 
The sward, twitched in a grasshopper, 

made song 
Midffight, perched, prinked, and to his 

art again. 

Leaflet 41; also, readings on pages 28-29. 


LEADING THOUGHT The mockingbird 
is the only one of our common birds that 
sings regularly at night. It imitates the 
songs of other birds and has also a beauti- 
ful song of its own. When feeding their 
nestlings, the mockers do us great service 
by destroying insect pests. 

METHOD Studies of this bird are best 
made individually by the pupils through 
watching the mockers which haunt the 
houses and shrubbery. If there are mock- 
ingbirds near the schoolhouse, the work 
can be done in the most ideal way by keep- 
ing records in the school of all the obser- 
vations made by the pupils, thus bringing 
out an interesting mockingbird story. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Duringwhatmonths 
of the year and for how many months does 
the mockingbird sing in this locality? 



2. Does he sing only on moonlight 
nights? Does he sing all night? 

3. Can you distinguish the true mock- 
ingbird song from the songs which he has 
learned from other birds? Describe the 
actions of a mocker when he is sing- 

4. How many songs of other birds have 
you heard a mocker give and what are 
the names of these birds? 

5. Have you ever taught a mocker a 
tune by whistling it in his presence? If 
so, tell how long it was before he learned 
it and how he acted while learning. 

6. Describe the flight of the mocking- 
birds. Do they fly high in the air like 

7. Do these birds like best to live in 
wild places or about houses and gardens? 

8. Where do they choose sites for their 
nests? Do they make an effort to hide the 
nest? If not, why? 

9. Of what material is the nest made? 
How is it lined? How far from the ground 
is it placed? 

10. What are the colors of the eggs? 
How many are usually laid? Flow long be- 
fore they hatch? 

11. Give instances of the parents' de- 
votion to the young birds. 

12. Have you seen two mockingbirds 
dancing before each other just before the 
nesting season? 

13. In the spring have you heard a 
mocker sing while mounting from the 
lower to the upper branches of a tree and 
then after pouring forth his best song fall 
backward with a sweet, gurgling song as 
if intoxicated with his music? 

14. How many broods does a pair of 
mockers raise during one season? How 
does the color of the breast of the young 
differ from that of the parent? 

15. How does the father bird protect 

the nestlings from other birds, cats, and 

16. Does the mocker select certain 
places for his own hunting grounds and 
drive off other mockers which trespass? 

17. Describe the colors of the mocking- 
bird as follows: beak, head, back, tail, 
wings, throat, breast, under parts and feet. 

18. What is the natural food of the 
mockingbirds and how do they benefit the 
farmer? How does the mocker act when 
attacking a ground beetle? 

19. Have you seen mockingbirds 
frighten other birds by imitating the cry 
of a hawk? Have you seen them play other 

20. Tell a story which includes your 
own observations on the ways of mocking- 
birds which you have known. 

Soft and low the song began: I scarcely 
caught it as it ran 

Through the melancholy trill of the plain- 
tive whip-poor-will, 

Through the ringdove's gentle wail, chat- 
tering jay and whistling quail, 

Sparrow's twitter, catbird's cry, redbird's 
whistle, robin's sigh; 

Blackbird, bluebird, swallow, lark, each 
his native note might mark. 

Oft he tried the lesson o'er, each time 
louder than before; 

Burst at length the finished song, loud and 
clear it poured along; 

All the choir in silence heard, hushed be- 
fore this wondrous bird. 

All transported and amazed, scarcely 
breathing, long I gazed. 

Now it reached the loudest swell; lower, 
lower, now it fell, 

Lower, lower, lower still, scarce it sounded 
o'er the rill. 




The Catbird sings a crooked song ? in minors that are flat, 
And, when he can't control his voice he mews just like a cat. 
Then nods his head and whisks his tail and lets it go at that. 


As a performer, the catbird distinctly 
belongs to the vaudeville, even going so 
far as to appear in slate-colored tights. His 
specialties range from the most exquisite 
song to the most strident of scolding 
notes; his nasal " n-y-a-a-h, n-y-a-a-h " is 
not so very much like the cat's mew after 
all, but when addressed to the intruder 
it means " get out "; and not in the whole 
gamut of bird notes is there another which 
so quickly inspires the listener with this 
desire. I once trespassed upon the terri- 
tory of a well-grown catbird family and 
the squalling that ensued was ear-splitting; 
as I retreated, the triumphant youngsters 
followed me for a few rods with every 
sign of triumph in their actions and voices; 
they obviously enjoyed my apparent 
fright. The catbirds have rather a pleasant 
" cluck, cluck " when talking to each 
other, hidden in the bushes, and they also 
have a variety of other notes. The true 
song of the catbird, usually given in the 
early morning, is very beautiful. Mr. 
Mathews thinks it is a medley gathered 
from other birds, but it seems to me very 
individual. However, true to his vaude- 
ville training, this bird is likely to intro- 
duce into the middle or at the end of his 
exquisite song some phrase that suggests 
his cat call. He is, without doubt, a 
true mocker and will often imitate the 
robin's song, and also if opportunity offers 
learns to converse fluently in chicken 
language. One spring morning I heard 
outside my window the mellow song of 
the cardinal, which is a rare visitor in 
New York, but there was no mistaking the 
" tor-re-do, tor-re-do." I sprang from my 
bed and rushed to the window, only to 
see a catbird singing the cardinal song, 
and thus telling me that he had come 
from the sunny South and the happy com- 

panionship of these brilliant birds. Often 
when the catbird is singing, he sits on the 
topmost spray of some shrub lifting his 
head and depressing his tail, like a brown 
thrasher; and again, he sings completely 
hidden in the thicket. 

In appearance the catbird is tailor- 
made, belonging to the same social class 
as the cedar-bird and the barn swallow. 

Robert Matheson 

A catbird on its nest 

However, it affects quiet colors, and its 
well-fitting costume is all slate-gray except 
the top of the head and the tail which are 
black; the feathers beneath the base of 
the tail are brownish. The catbird is not 
so large as the robin, and is of very differ- 
ent shape; it is far more slender and has 
a long, emotional tail. The way the cat- 
bird twitches and tilts its tail, as it hops 
along the ground or alights in a bush, is 
very characteristic. It is a particularly alert 
and nervous bird, always on the watch for 
intruders, and the first to give warning to 
all other birds of their approach. It is a 
good fighter in defending its nest, and 
there are several observed instances where 
it has fought to defend the nest of other 
species of birds; and it has gone even 

The catbird lays three to five eggs of a rich 
greenish blue in a well constructed nest in a 
dense thicket 

further in its philanthropy, by feeding 
their orphaned nestlings. 

The catbird chooses a nesting site in a 
low tree or shrub or brier, where the nest 
is built usually about four feet from the 
ground. The nest looks untidy, but is 
strongly made of sticks, coarse grass, 
weeds, bark strips, and occasionally paper; 
it is lined with soft roots and is almost al- 
ways well hidden in dense foliage. The 
eggs are from three to five in number and 
are dark greenish blue. Both parents work 
hard feeding the young and for this pur- 
pose destroy many insects which we can 
well spare. Sixty-two per cent of the food 
of the young has been found in one in- 
stance to be cutworms, showing what a 
splendid work the parents do in our gar- 
dens. In fact, during a large part of the 
summer, while these birds are rearing their 
two broods, they benefit us greatly by de- 
stroying the insect pests; and although 
later they may attack our fruits and ber- 
ries, it almost seems as if they had earned 
the right to their share. If we only had 
the wisdom to plant along the fences some 
elderberries or Russian mulberries, the cat- 
birds as well as the robins would feed 
upon them instead of the cultivated fruits. 


The catbirds afford a striking example 
for impressing upon children that each 
species of birds haunts certain kinds of 
places. The catbirds are not often found 
in deep woods or in open fields, but usu- 
ally near low thickets along streams, and 
in shrubbery along fences, in tangles of 
vines, and especially do they like to build 
about our gardens, if we protect them. 
They are very fond of bathing, and if 
fresh water is given them for this purpose, 
we may have opportunity to witness the 
most thorough bath a bird can take. A 
catbird takes a long time to bathe and 
preen its feathers and indulges in most 
luxurious sun baths and thus deservedly 
earns the epithet of " well-groomecl "; it 
is one of the most intelligent of all our 
birds and soon learns " what is what," and 
repays in the most surprising way the trou- 
ble of careful observation. 

Leaflet 70; Bird-House to Let, by Mary F. 
Terrel; Bird Stories from Burroughs, by 
John Burroughs; also, readings on pages 


LEADING THOUGHT The catbird has 
a beautiful song as well as the harsh 
" miou," and can imitate other birds, al- 
though not so well as the mockingbird. 
It builds in low thickets and shrubbery 
and during the nesting season is of great 
benefit to our gardens. 

METHOD First, let the pupils study 
and report upon the songs, scoldings, and 
other notes of this our northern mocking- 
bird; then let them describe its appearance 
and habits. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Do you think the 
squall of the catbird sounds like the mew 
of a cat? When does the bird use this note 
and what for? What other notes have you 
heard it utter? 

2. Describe as well as you can the cat- 
bird's true song. Are there any harsh notes 
in it? Where does he sit while singing? 
Describe the actions of the catbird while 
he is singing. 

3. Have you ever heard the catbird imi- 


tate the songs of other birds or other 

4. Describe the catbird as follows: its 
size and shape compared to the robin; the 
color and shape of head, beak, wings, tail, 
breast, and under parts. 

5. Describe its peculiar actions and its 
characteristic movements. 

6. Where do catbirds build their nests? 
How high from the ground? What ma- 
terial is used? Is the nest compact and 
carefully finished? Is it hidden? 

7. What is the color of the eggs? Do 
both parents care for the young? 

8. What is the food of the catbird? 
Why is it an advantage to us to have cat- 
birds build in our gardens? 

9. Do you ever find catbirds in the deep 
woods or out in the open meadows? 
Where do you find them? 


10. Put out a pan of water where the 
catbirds can use it and then watch them 
make their toilets and describe the proc- 
ess. Describe how the catbirds take sun 

He sits on a branch of yon blossoming 

This madcap cousin of robin and thrush. 

And sings without ceasing the whole 
morning long; 

Now wild, now tender, the wayward 

That flows from his soft, gray, fluttering 

But often he stops in his sweetest note, 

And, shaking a flower from the blossom- 
ing bough, 

Drawls out, " Mi-eu, mi-ow! " 

Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr. 

A family of seven young belted kingfishers that were posed for the camera 


This patrol of our streams and lake 
shores, in his cadet uniform, is indeed a 
military figure as well as a militant per- 
sonality. As he sits upon his chosen branch 
overhanging some stream or lake shore, 
his crest abristle, his keen eye fixed on the 

water below, his whole bearing alert, one 
must acknowledge that this fellow puts 
" ginger " into his environment, and that 
the spirit which animates him is very far 
from the " dolce far niente " which per- 
meates the ordinary fisherman. However, 


Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr. 

A moment between diggings. This male 
belted kingfisher hesitates on the doorstep of 
the nesting burrow which lie is digging. To 
him, rather than to his mate, falls the task of 

he does not fish for fun but for business; 
his keen eye catches the gleam of a mov- 
ing fin and he darts from his perch, holds 
himself for a moment on steady wings 
above the surface of the water, to be sure 
of his quarry, and then there is a dash 
and a splash and he returns to his perch 
with the wriggling fish in his strong beak. 
Usually he at once proceeds to beat its life 
out against a branch and then to swallow 
it sensibly, head first, so that the fins 
will not prick his throat nor the scales 
rasp it. He swallows the entire fish, trust- 
ing to his internal organs to select 
the nourishing part; and later he gulps 
up a ball of the indigestible scales and 

The kingfisher is very different in form 
from an ordinary bird; he is larger than 
a robin, and his head and fore parts are 
much larger in proportion; this is the more 
noticeable because of the long feathers 

Kingfisher's foot. This shows the weak 
toes; the third and fourth are joined to- 
gether, which undoubtedly assists the bird in 
pushing out soil when excavating 

of the head which he lifts into a crest, and 
because of the shortness of the tail. The 
beak is very long and strong, enabling the 

kingfisher to seize the fish and hold it 
fast, but the legs are short and weak. The 
third and fourth toes are grown together 
for a part of their length; this is of use 
to the bird in pushing earth from the bur- 
row, when excavating. The kingfisher has 
no need for running and hopping, like 
the robin, and therefore does not need 
the robin's strong legs and feet. His colors 
are beautiful and harmonious; the upper 
parts are grayish blue, the throat and collar 
white, as is also the breast, which has a 
bluish gray band across the upper part, 
this giving the name of the Belted King- 
fisher to the bird. The feathers of the 
wings are tipped with white and the tail 
feathers narrowly barred with white. The 
under side of the body is white in the 
males, while in the females it is somewhat 
chestnut in color. There is a striking white 
spot just in front of the eye. 

The kingfisher parents builcl their nest 
in a burrow which they tunnel horizon- 
tally in a bank; sometimes there is a vesti- 
bule of several feet before the nest is 
reached, and at other times it is built 
very close to the opening. Both parents are 
industrious in catching fish for their nest- 
lings, but the burden of this duty falls 
heaviest upon the male. Many fish bones 
are found in the nest, and they seem so 
clean and white that they have been re- 
garded as nest lining. Wonderful tales are 
told of the way the English kingfishers use 

Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr. 

A large sharply pointed bill and a good aim 
behind it is all the equipment this feathered 
fisherman needs to catch his food 



fish bones to support the earth above their 
nests, and tributes have been paid to their 
architectural skill. But it is generally con- 
ceded that the lining of fish bones in the 
nests of our kingfisher is incidental, since 
the food of the young is largely fish, al- 
though frogs, insects, and other creatures 
are often eaten with relish. It is interesting 
to note the process by which the young 
kingfisher gets its skill in fishing. I have 
often seen one dive horizontally for a yard 
or two beneath the water and come up 
indignant and sputtering because the fish 
had escaped. It was fully two weeks more 
before this one learned to drop like a 
bullet on its quarry. 

The note of the kingfisher is a loud rat- 
tle, not especially pleasant close at hand, 
but not unmusical at a little distance. It is 
a curious coincidence that it sounds very 
much like the clicking of the fisherman's 
reel; it is a sound that conjures visions of 
shade-dappled streams and the dancing, 
blue waters of tree-fringed lakes and 

There seems to be a division of fishing 
ground among the kingfishers, one bird 
rarely trespassing upon its neighbor's pre- 
serves. Unless it be the parent pair work- 
ing near each other for the nestlings, or 
the nestlings still under their care, we sel- 
dom see two kingfishers in the same im- 
mediate locality. 

Biographies, by A. A. Allen; Audubon 
Bird Leaflet 19; also, readings on pages 


LEADING THOUGHT The kingfisher is 
fitted by form of body and beak to be a 

METHOD If the school be near a 
stream or pond the following observations 
may be made by the pupils; otherwise let 
the boys who go fishing make a study of 
the bird and report to the school. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Where have you 
seen the kingfisher? Have you often seen it 
on a certain branch which is its favorite 
perch? Is this perch near the water? What 

is the advantage of this position to the 

2. What does the kingfisher feed upon? 
How does it obtain its food? Describe the 
actions of one of these birds while fishing. 

3. With what weapons does the king- 
fisher secure the fish? How long is its beak 
compared with the rest of its body? How 
does it kill the fish? Does it swallow the 
fish head or tail first? Why? Does it tear 
off the scales or fins before swallowing it? 
How does it get rid of these and the bones 
of the fish? 

4. Which is the larger, the kingfisher 
or the robin? Describe the difference in 
shape of the bodies of these two birds; 
also in the size and shape of feet and 
beaks, and explain why they are so differ- 
ent in form. What is there peculiar about 
the kingfisher's feet? Do you know which 
two toes are grown together? 

5. What are the colors of the kingfisher 
in general? The colors of head, sides of 
head, collar, back, tail, wings, throat, 
breast, and under parts? Is there a white 
spot near the eye? If so, where? Do you 
know the difference in colors between the 
parent birds? 

6. Where is the nest built? How is it 

7. What is the note of the kingfisher? 
Does it give it while perching or while on 
the wing? Do you ever find more than one 
kingfisher on the same fishing grounds? 



For the handsome Kingfisher, go not to 

the tree, 

No bird of the field or the forest is he; 
In the dry river rock he did never abide, 
And not on the brown heath all barren 

and wide. 

He lives where the fresh, sparkling waters 
are flowing, 

Where the tall heavy Typha and Loose- 
strife are growing; 

By the bright little streams that all joyfully 

Awhile in the shadow, and then in the sun. 


He lives in a hole that is quite to his 

With the green mossy Hazel roots firmly 

Where the dark Alder-bough waves grace- 
fully o'er, 

And the Sword-flag and Arrow-head grow 
at his door. 

There busily, busily, all the day long, 

He seelcs for small fishes the shallows 

For he builds his nest of the pearly fish- 

Deep, deep, in the bank, far retired, and 

Then the brown Water-Rat from his bur- 
row loots out, 

To see what his neighbor Kingfisher's 

And the green Dragon-fly, flitting slowly 

Just pauses one moment to bid him good- 

O happy Kingfisher/ What care should he 

By the clear, pleasant streams, as he skims 

to and fro, 
Now lost in the shadow, now bright in the 

Of the hot summer sun, glancing scarlet 

and green/ 



Disquiet yourselves not; Tis nothing but a little, downy owl. SHELLEY 

Of all the sounds to be heard at night 
in the woods, the screech owl's song is 
surely the most fascinating; its fascination 
does not depend on music but upon the 

Country Life in America 

Screech owls 

chills which it sends up and down the 
spine of the listener, thus attacking a quite 
different set of nerves than do other bird 
songs. The weird wail, tremulous and long 
drawn out, although so blood-curdling, is 
from the standpoint of the owlet the most 
beautiful music in the world; by means of 
it he calls to his mate, cheering her with 
the assurance of his presence in the world; 
evidently she is not a nervous creature. 
The screech owls are likely to sing at night 
during any part of the year; nor should we 
infer that when they are singing they are 
not hunting, for perchance their music 
frightens their victims into fatal activity. 
Although the note is so unmistakable, yet 
there is great variation in the songs of in- 
dividuals; the great variety of quavers in 
the song offers ample opportunity for the 
expression of individuality. Moreover, 
these owls often give themselves over to 
tremulous whispering and they emphasize 
excitement by snapping their beaks in an 
alarming manner. 

Any bird that is flying about and singing 
in the night time must be able to see 
where it is going, and the owls have spe- 
cial adaptations for this. The eyes are 



very large and the yellow iris opens and 
closes about the pupil in a way quite simi- 
lar to the arrangement in the cat's eye, 
except that the pupil in the owl's eye is 
round when contracted instead of elon- 
gated; in the night this pupil is expanded 
until it covers most of the eye. The owl 
does not need to see behind and at the 
sides, since it does not belong to the birds 
which are the victims of other birds and 
animals of prey. The owl is a bird that 
hunts instead of being hunted, and it 
needs only to focus its eyes on the creature 
it is chasing. Thus, its eyes are in the front 
of the head like our own; but it can see 
behind, in case of need, for the head turns 
upon the neck as if it were fitted on a ball- 
bearing joint. I have often amused my- 
self by walking around a captive screech 
owl, which would follow me with its eyes 
by turning the head until it almost made 
the circle; then the head would twist back 
with such lightning rapidity that I could 
hardly detect the movement. It seemed 
almost as if the head were on a pivot and 
could be moved around and around in- 
definitely. Although the owl, like the cat, 
has eyes fitted for night hunting, it can 
also see fairly well during the daytime. 

A beak with the upper mandible end- 
ing in a sharp hook signifies that its owner 
lives upon other animals and needs to 
rend and tear flesh. The owl's beak thus 
formed is somewhat buried in the feathers 
of the face, which gives it a striking resem- 
blance to a Roman nose. This, with the 
great, staring, round eyes, bestows upon 
the owl an appearance of great wisdom. 
But it is not the beak which the owl uses 
for a weapon of attack; its strong feet and 
sharp, curved claws are its weapons for 
striking the enemy and also for grappling 
with its prey. The outer toe can be moved 
back at will, so that in grasping its prey 
or its perch, two toes may be directed for- 
ward and two backward, thus giving a 
stronger hold. 

The ear is very different in form from 
the ear of other birds; instead of being a 
mere hole opening into the internal ear, it 
consists of a fold of skin forming a chan- 
nel which extends from above the eye 

S. A. Grimes 

A barn or monkey -faced owl 

around to the side of the throat. Thus 
equipped, while hunting in the dark the 
owl is able to hear any least rustle of 
mouse or bird and to know in which direc- 
tion to descend upon it. There has been 
no relation established between the ear 
tufts of the screech owl and its ears, so far 
as I know, but the way the bird lifts the 
tufts when it is alert always suggests that 
this movement in some way opens up the 

In color there are two phases among the 
screech owls, one reddish brown, the other 
gray. The back is streaked with black, 
the breast is marked with many shaft-lines 
of black. The whole effect of the owl's 
plumage makes it resemble a branch of a 
tree or a part of the bark, and thus it is 
protected from prying eyes during the day- 
time when it is sleeping. Its plumage is 
very fluffy and its wing feathers, instead 
of being stiff to the very edge, have soft 
fringes which cushion the stroke upon the 
air. The owl's flight is, therefore, noiseless; 
and the bird is thus able to swoop down 
upon its prey without giving warning of its 

The screech owls are partial to old ap- 
ple orchards for nesting sites. They will 
often use the abandoned nest of a wood- 
pecker; the eggs are almost as round as 
marbles and as white as chalk; it is well 
that they are laid within a dark hole, for 
otherwise their color would attract the 



S. A. Grimes 

The great horned owl 

eyes of enemies. There are usually four 
eggs; the fubsy little owlets climb out of 
their home cave by the end of May and 
are the funniest little creatures imagina- 
ble. They make interesting but decidedly 
snappy pets; they can be fed on insects 
and raw beef. It is most interesting to see 
one wake up late in the afternoon after its 
daytime sleep. All day it has sat motion- 
less upon its perch with its toes completely 
covered with its fluffy feather skirt. Sud- 
denly its eyes open, the round pupils en- 
larging or contracting with great rapidity 
as if adjusting themselves to the amount 
of light. When the owl winks it is like a 
moon in eclipse, so large are the eyes, and 
so entirely are they obscured by the lids, 
which seem like circular curtains. When 
it yawns, its wide bill absurdly resembles 
a human mouth, and the yawn is very hu- 
man in its expression. It then stretches its 
wings; it is astonishing how far this wing 
can be extended below the feet. It then 
begins its toilet. It dresses its feathers with 
its short beak, nibbling industriously in 
the fluff; it scratches its under parts and 
breast with its bill, then cleans the bill 
with its foot, meanwhile moving the head 
up and down as if in an attempt to see its 
surroundings better. 

The owls are loyal lovers and are said 
to remain mated through life, the twain 
being very devoted to their nests and nest- 
lings. Sometimes the two wise-looking lit- 
tle parents sit together on the eggs, a most 
happy way to pass the wearisome incuba- 
tion period. 

The screech owls winter in the north 

and are distinctly foresighted in pre- 
paring for winter. They have often been 
observed catching mice, during the late 
fall, and placing them in some hollow tree 
for cold storage, whence they may be taken 
in time of need. Their food consists to 
some extent of insects, especially night- 
flying moths and beetles, and also cater- 
pillars and grasshoppers. However, the 
larger part of their food is mice; some- 
times small birds are caught, and the Eng- 
lish sparrow is a frequent victim. Chickens 
are rarely taken, except when small, since 
this owlet is not as long as a robin. It swal- 
lows its quarry as whole as possible, trust- 
ing to its inner organs to do the sifting and 
selecting. Later it throws up pellets of the 
indigestible bones, hair, etc. By the study 
of these pellets, found under owl roosts, 
the scientists have been able to determine 
the natural food of the bird, and they all 
unite in assuring us that the screech owl 
does the farmer much more good than 
harm, since it feeds so largely upon crea- 
tures which destroy his crops. 

Biographies, by A. A. Allen; Audubon 
Bird Leaflet 11; Bird Stories, by Edith M. 
Patch; Bird Stories from Burroughs, by 
John Burroughs; Birds in the Wilderness, 
by George M. Sutton; Mother Nature 
Series, by Fannie W. Dunn and Eleanor 
Troxell, Book 3, In Field and Forest; Our 
Backdoor Neighbors, by Frank C. Pellett; 
The Pet Boole, by Anna B. Comstock; 
also, readings on pages 28-29. 


LEADING THOUGHT This owl is espe- 
cially adapted to get its prey at night. It 
feeds largely on field mice, grasshoppers, 
caterpillars, and other injurious insects and 
is therefore the friend of the farmer. 

METHOD This lesson should begin 
when the children first hear the cry of this 
owl; and an owl in captivity is a fascinat- 
ing object for the children to observe. 
However, it is so important that the chil- 
dren learn the habits of this owl that the 
teacher is advised to hinge the lesson on 

BIRDS 103 

any observation whatever made by the pu- laid? What is their color? At what time of 

- - - year do the little owls appear? 

9. Where does the screech owl spend 
the winter? What do the screech owls feed 

upon? Do they chew their food? How do 

pils, and illustrate it with pictures and 

OBSERVATIONS i. Have you ever 
heard the screech owl? At what time of 

the day or night? Why was this? Why they get rid of the indigestible portion of 
does the owl screech? How did you feel their food? How does this habit help sci- 
when listening to the owl's song? entists to know the food of the owls? 

2. Describe the owl's eyes. Are they 10. How does the screech owl work in- 
adapted to see by night? What changes 

take place in them to enable the owl to 
see by day also? In what way are the 
owl's eyes similar to the cat's? Why is it 
necessary for an owl to see at night? Are 
the owl's eyes placed so that they can 
see at the sides like other birds? How 
does it see an object at the sides or be- 
hind it? 

3. Note the owl's beak. For what pur- 
pose is a hooked beak? How does the owl 
use its beak? Why do we think that the 
owl looks wise? 

4. Describe the feet and claws of the 
screech owl. What are such sharp hooked 
claws meant for? Does an owl on a perch 
always have three toes directed forward 
and one backward? 

5. Describe the colors of the screech 
owl. Are all these owls of the same color? 
How do these colors protect the bird from 
its enemies? 

6. How is the owl's plumage adapted to 
silent flight? Why is silent flight advan- 
tageous to this bird? 

7. How does the owl's ear differ from 
the ears of other birds? Of what special ad- 
vantage is this? As the owl hunts during 
the night, what does it do in the daytime? 
How and by what means does it hide it- 

8. Where does the screech owl make its 
nest? Do you know anything about the 
devotion of the parent owls to each other 
and to their young? How many eggs are 

jury to the farmers? How does it benefit 
them? Does not the benefit outweigh the 

11. How many other kinds of owls do 
you know? What do you know of their 


We are two dusJky owls, and we live in a 


Loolc at her, look at me! 
Look at her, she's my mate, and the 

mother of three 
Pretty owlets, and we 
Have a warm cosy nest, just as snug as can 

We are both very wise; for our heads, as 

you see, 

(Look at her look at me/) 
Are as large as the heads of four birds 

ought to be; 

And our horns, you'll agree. 
Make us loofc wiser still, sitting here on the 

And we care not how gloomy the night- 
time may be; 

We can see, we can see; 
Through the forest to roam, it suits her, it 

suits me; 

And we're free, we are free 
To bring back what we find, to our nest 
in the tree. 



S. A. Grimes 

The fish hawk or osprey. This hawk builds its large nest from twenty to fifty feet above the 
ground. It subsists almost entirely on fish 


Above the tumult of the canon lifted, the gray hawk breathless hung, 

Or on the hill a winged shadow drifted where furze and thornbush clung. 


It is the teacher's duty and privilege to 
try to revolutionize some popular miscon- 
ceptions about birds, and two birds, in 
great need in this respect, are the so-called 
hen hawks. They are most unjustly 
treated, largely because most farmers con- 
sider that a " hawk is a hawk/' and should 
always be shot to save the poultry, al- 
though there is as much difference in the 
habits of hawks as there is in those of men. 
The so-called hen hawks are the red-shoul- 
dered and the red-tailed species, the latter 
being somewhat the larger and rarer of 
the two. Both are very large birds. The 
red-shouldered has cinnamon brown 
epaulets; the tail is blackish, crossed by five 
or six narrow white bars, and the wing 
feathers are also barred. The red-tailed 

species has dark brown wings; the feathers 
are not barred, and it is distinguished by 
its tail which is brilliant cinnamon color 
with a black bar across it near the end; it 
is silvery white beneath. When the hawk 
is soaring, its tail shows reddish as it wheels 
in the air. Both birds are brown above and 
whitish below, streaked with brown. 

The flight of these hawks is similar and 
is very beautiful; it consists of soaring on 
outstretched wings in wide circles high in 
the air, and is the ideal of graceful aerial 
motion. In rising, the bird faces the wind 
and drops a little in the circle as its back 
turns to the leeward, and thus it climbs 
an invisible winding stair until it is a mere 
speck in the sky. When the bird wishes to 
drop, it lifts and holds its wings above its 


back, and comes down like a lump of lead, 
only to catch itself whenever it chooses to 
begin again to climb the invisible spiral. 
And all this is done without fatigue, for 
these birds have been observed to soar 
thus for hours together without coming 
to earth. When thus soaring the two spe- 
cies may be distinguished from each other 
by their cries; the red-tailed gives a high 
sputtering scream, which Chapman likens 
to the sound of escaping steam; while the 
red-shouldered calls in a high not unmusi- 
cal note " kee-you, kee-you " or " tee-ur, 

The popular fallacy for the teacher to 
correct about these birds is that they are 
enemies of the farmers. Not until a hawk 
has actually been seen to catch chick- 
ens should it be shot, for very few of them 
are guilty of this sin. Sixty-six per cent of 
the food of the red-tailed species consists 
of injurious animals, i.e., mice and go- 
phers, etc., and only seven per cent con- 
sists of poultry; the victims are probably 
old or disabled fowls, and fall an easy prey; 
this bird much prefers mice and reptiles to 
poultry. The more common red-shoul- 

S. A. Grimes 

The marsh hawk. This is a bird of the open 
fields. It flies low in search of rodents, rep- 
tiles, frogs, and insects. It may be identified 
by a white spot on the rump 

A. A. Allen 

Red-tailed hawk 

dered hawk feeds generally on mice, 
snakes, frogs, fish, and is very fond of grass- 
hoppers. Ninety per cent of its food con- 
sists of creatures which injure our crops or 
pastures and scarcely one and one-half per 
cent is made up of poultry and game. 
These facts have been ascertained by the 
experts in the Department of Agriculture 
at Washington who have examined the 
stomachs of hundreds of these hawks 
taken from different localities. Further- 
more, Dr. Fisher states that a pair of the 
red-shouldered hawks bred for successive 
years within a few hundred yards of a poul- 
try farm containing 800 young chickens 
and 400 ducks, and the owner never saw 
them attempt to catch a fowl. 

However, there are certain species of 
hawks which are to be feared; these are 
the Cooper's hawk and the sharp-shinned 
hawk, the first being very destructive to 
poultry and the latter killing many wild 
birds. These are both somewhat smaller 
than the species we are studying. They 
are both dark gray above and have very 
long tails, and when flying they flap their 
wings for a time and then glide a distance. 
They do not soar on motionless outspread 
pinions by the hour. 

When hawks are seen soaring, they are 
likely to be hunting for mice in the mead- 
ows below them. Their eyes are remarka- 
bly keen; they can see a moving creature 
from a great height, and can suddenly 
drop upon it like a thunderbolt out of a 
clear sky. Their wonderful eyes are far- 
sighted when they are circling in the sky, 


1. SPARROW HAWKS. In summer these 
birds will be found from northern Canada 
south to the Gulf states except in peninsular 
Florida and the arid regions of the South- 
west; in winter from the northern United States 
to Panama. About eleven inches in length, this 
pretty little hawk has readily adapted itself to 
civilization and in densely populated areas 
makes its nest about buildings and even in bird- 
houses. The sparrow hawk should be protected 
everywhere, for it is useful to man; it feeds 
chiefly on mice and insects. (Photo by Doro- 
thy M. Compton) 

2. SNOWY OWL. One of the largest and most 
handsome of owls, the snowy owl, is at home in 
the northern part of the Northern Hemisphere; 
it breeds as far north as land is found and as far 
south as northern Quebec, Manitoba, and British 
Columbia. In winter it migrates southward in 
search of food if mice and lemmings become 
scarce in the North. In North America the winter 
range may extend as far south as the Gulf states, 
in Europe as far south as France and Switzer- 
land, and in Asia to northern India and Japan. 
This owl is seldom seen in trees, preferring the 
open country, probably because the rodents 
which are its principal food are found there. 
(Photo by Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr.) 

3. A YOUNG SCREECH OWL. The range of 
these birds extends from southern Canada to 
the southern United States. They breed over 
most of this area. The screech owl is not quite 
so long as a robin. It often nests in a small 
cavity in a tree or even in a birdhouse. It is 
not unusual for the owl to use the same nesting 
place year after year. It feeds largely on mice, 
other small mammals, insects, and small birds. 
This owl is unique in that it has two color 
phases; both male and female may be either gray 
or reddish brown. (Photo by Dorothy M. Comp* 

4. HERRING GULL. These birds are scav- 
engers found along the coasts and inland 
waters of the Northern Hemisphere. They 
nest in colonies, usually on islands but always 
near the water. The nest of seaweed, grasses, 
or moss is generally built on the ground. Flocks 
of herring gulls are often seen near piers and 
wharves where they perform a valuable service 
by feeding on garbage and refuse. It is generally 
this bird that follows coastwise boats waiting 
for refuse to be thrown overboard. (Photo by 
Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr.) 

5. AN ADULT SCREECH OWL. Perched in a 
tree, the screech owl is difficult to detect, for 
he is easily mistaken for branches and leaves. 
(Photo by A. A. Allen) 

TO ITS NEST. This is a scavenger of the South. 
Though it rarely breeds north of Maryland, 
it is occasionally seen in some of the central 
states. The value of these birds in removing 
health-menacing garbage and carrion is so 
great that they are protected by law and public 
sentiment. They are quite numerous in the 
South and are often seen in towns and cities. 
The black vulture does not build a nest; the 
eggs are laid in cavities in trees or rocks, in 
hollow stumps, or on the ground beneath bushes. 
(Photo by S.A. Grimes') 

7. AUDUBON'S CAR AC ABA. This bird's usual 
range is from Lower California, Arizona, Texas, 
and southern Florida southward to Ecuador; 
it has been reported as an accidental visitor as 
far north as Ontario. The nest is a bulky struc- 
ture of sticks, branches, roots, grass, and leaveSj 
usually placed in trees or on bushes or ledges. 
Caracaras are often seen in the company of 
vultures, feeding on carrion, and they also 
capture and eat snakes, frogs, and lizards. The 
caracara's flight is direct and rapid, not at all 
like that of the vulture, which sails and soars in 
spirals. (Photo by S. A. Grimes) 



Leonard K. Beyer 

Nest and eggs of the marsh hawk 

but as they drop, the focus of the eyes 
changes automatically with great rapid- 
ity, so that by the time they reach the 
earth they are nearsighted, a feat quite 
impossible for our eyes unless aided by 
glasses or telescope. 

These so-called hen hawks will often sit 
motionless, for hours at a time, on some 
dead branch or dead tree; they are proba- 
bly watching for something eatable to stir 
within the range of their keen vision. 
When seizing its prey, a hawk uses its 
strong feet and sharp, curved talons. All 
hawks have sharp and polished claws, even 
as the warrior has a keen, bright sword; the 
legs are covered by a growth of feathers 
extending down from above, looking like 
feather trousers. The beak is hooked and 
very sharp and is used for tearing apart 
the flesh of the quarry. When a hawk 
fights some larger animal or man, it 
throws itself over upon its back and strikes 
its assailant with its strong claws as well 
as with its beak; but the talons are its chief 

Both species build a large, shallow nest 
of coarse sticks and grass, lined with moss, 
feathers, etc.; it is a rude, rough structure, 
and is placed in tall trees from fifty to 
sfeventy-five feet from the ground. Only 
two to four eggs are laid; these are whitish, 
spotted with brown. These hawks are said 
to remain mated for life and are devoted 

to each other and to their young. Hawks 
and eagles are very similar in form and 
habits, and if the eagle is a noble bird, so 
is the hawk. 

Leaflets 8, 9, 10, 37, 82, 122; Bird Stories 
from Burroughs, by John Burroughs; Food 
Habits of Common Hawlcs, by W. L. 
McAtee (U. S. Department of Agricul- 
ture, Circular 370); The Hawlcs of North 
America, by John B. May; Our Backdoor 
Neighbors, by Frank C. Pellett; also, read- 
ings on pages 28-29. 


LEADING THOUGHT Uninformed peo- 
ple consider all hawks dangerous neigh- 
bors because they are supposed to feed 
exclusively on poultry. This idea is false 
and we should study carefully the habits 
of hawks before we shoot them. The ordi- 
nary large reddish " hen hawks," which 
circle high above meadows, are doing great 
good to the farmer by feeding upon the 
mice and other creatures which steal his 
grain and girdle his trees. 

METHOD Begin by observations on 
the flight of one of these hawks and sup- 
plement this with such observations as the 
pupils are able to make, or facts which 
they can discover by talking with hunters 
or others, and by reading. 

OBSERVATIONS i. How can you tell a 

Leonard K. Beyer 

Young marsh hawks 



hawk, when flying, from a crow or other 
large bird? Describe how it soars. Does 
it move off in any direction? If so, does it 
move off in circles? How often does it 
make strokes with its wings? Does it rise 
when it is facing the wind and fall as it 
turns its back to the wind? 

2. Have you seen a hawk flap its wings 
many times and then soar for a time? If 
so, what hawk do you think it was? How 
does it differ in habits from the "hen 
hawks "? 

3. Have you noticed a hawk when soar- 
ing drop suddenly to earth? If so, why did 
it do this? 

4. How does a hawk hunt? How, when 
it is so high in the air that it looks like a 
circling speck in the sky, can it see a mouse 
in a meadow? If it is so farsighted as 
this, how can it be nearsighted enough to 
catch the mouse when it is close to it? 
Would you not have to use field glasses 
or telescope to do this? 

5. When a hawk alights what sort of 
place does it choose? How does it act? 

6. Do hawks seize their prey with their 
claws or their beaks? What sort of feet 
and claws has the hawk? Describe the 
beak. What do you think a beak of this 
shape is meant for? 

7. Why do people shoot hawks? Why 
is it a mistake for people to wish to shoot 
all hawks? 

8. What is the food of the red-shoul- 
dered hawk as shown by the bulletin of 
the U.S. Department of Agriculture or by 
the Audubon leaflets? 

9. Where does the hawk place its nest? 
Of what does it build its nest? 

10. Compare the food and the nesting 
habits of the red-shouldered and red- 
tailed hawks? 

1 1 . How devoted are the hawks to their 
mates and to their young? Does a hawk, 
having lost its mate, live alone ever after? 

12. Describe the colors of the hen 
hawks and describe how you can tell the 
two species apart by the colors and mark- 
ings of the tail. 

13. What is the cry of the hawk? How 
can you tell the two species apart by this 
cry? Does the hawk give its cry only when 
on the wing? 

14. Why should an eagle be considered 
so noble a bird and the hawk be so 
scorned? What difference is there be- 
tween them in habits? 

Yet, ere the noon, as brass the heaven 


The cruel sun smites with unerring aim, 
The sight and touch of all things blinds 

and burns, 

And bare, hot hills seem shimmering 
into flame! 

On outspread wings a hawk, far poised on 

Quick swooping screams, and then is 

heard no more: 

The strident shrilling of a locust nigh 
Breaks forth, and dies in silence as be- 


These friendly little birds spend their 
time darting through the air on swift 
wings, seeking and destroying insects 
which are foes to us and to our various 
crops. However, it is safe to assume that 
they are not thinking of us as they skim 
above our meadows and ponds, hawking 
our tiny foes; for like most of us, they are 
simply intent upon getting a living. 
Would that we might perform this nec- 
essary duty as gracefully as they! 

In general, the swallows have a long, 
slender, graceful body, with a long tail 
which is forked or notched, except in the 
case of the eave swallow. The beak is short 
but wide where it joins the head; this en- 
ables the bird to open its mouth wide and 
gives it more scope in the matter of catch- 
ing insects; the swift flight of the swallows 
enables them to catch insects on the wing. 
Their legs are short, the feet are weak and 
fitted for perching; it would be quite im- 



L. A. Fuertes 

Swallows and swifts 

possible for a swallow to walk or hop like 
a robin or blackbird. 

These swallows build under the eaves of 
barns or in similar locations. In early times 
they built against the sides of cliffs; but 
when man came and built barns, they 
chose them for their dwelling sites. The 
nest is made of mud pellets and is some- 
what globular in shape, with an entrance 
at one side. When the nest is on the side 
of a cliff or in an unprotected portion of 
a barn, a covered passage is built around 
the door, which gives the nest the shape 
of a gourd or retort; but when protected 
beneath the eaves the birds seem to think 

this vestibule is unnecessary. The mud 
nest is warmly lined with feathers and soft 
materials, and often there are many nests 
built so closely together that they touch. 
The eave swallow comes north about May 
i, and soon after that may be seen along 
streams or other damp places gathering 
mud for the nests. It seems necessary for 
the bird to find clay mud in order to ren- 
der the nest strong enough to support the 
eggs and nestlings. The eggs are white, 
blotched with reddish brown. The parents 
cling to the edge of the nest when feeding 

A. A. Allen 

Nests of cliff swallows 

Leonard K. Beyer 

Barn swallow and nest 

the young. Both the barn and eave swal- 
lows are blue above, but the eave swallow 
has the forehead cream white and the 
rump of pale brick-red, and its tail is 
square across the end as seen in flight. The 
bam swallow has a chestnut forehead and 
its outer tail feathers are long, making a 
distinct fork during flight, and it is not red 
upon the rump. 

choose a bam where there is a hole in the 
gable or where the doors are kept open all 
the time. They build upon beams or raf- 
ters, making a cup-shaped nest of layers of 
pellets of mud, with grass between; it is 
well lined with feathers. The nest is usu- 
ally the shape of half of a shallow cup 
which has been cut in two lengthwise, the 


cut side being plastered against the side of 
the rafter. Sometimes the nests are more 
or less supported upon a beam or rafter; 
the eggs are white and dotted with reddish 
brown. The barn swallows, aside from 
their constant twittering, have also a 
pretty song. Both parents work at build- 
ing the nest and feeding the young; there 
are likely to be several pairs nesting in the 
same building. The parents continue to 
feed the young long after they have left 
the nest; often a whole family may be seen 
sitting on a telegraph wire or wire fence, 
the parents still feeding the well-grown 
youngsters. This species comes north in 

This barn swallow's nest is well feathered 

the latter part of April and leaves early in 
September. It winters as far south as 

The barn swallow has a distinctly tailor- 
made appearance; its red-brown vest and 
iridescent blue coat, with deeply forked 
" coat tails " give it an elegance of style 
which no other bird, not even the chic 
cedar waxwing, can emulate. 

THE BANK SWALLOW When we see a 
sandy bank apparently shot full of holes as 
by small cannon balls, we may know that 
we have found a tenement of bank swal- 
lows. These birds always choose the per- 
pendicular banks of creeks or of railroad 
cuts or of sand pits for their nesting sites; 
they require a soil sufficiently soft to be 
tunneled by their weak feet, and yet not 
so loose as to cave in upon the nest. The 
tunnel may extend from one to four feet 

Leonard K. Beyer 

The band of color across the breast is the dis- 
tinguishing mark of the bank swallow 

horizontally in the bank with just enough 
diameter to admit the body of the rather 
small bird. The nest is situated at the 
extreme end of the tunnel and is lined 
with soft feathers and grasses. 

The bank swallows arrive late in April 
and leave early in September. They may 
be distinguished from the other species by 
their grayish color above; the throat and 
breast are white with a broad, brownish 
band across the breast; .-the tail is slightly 
forked. The rough-winged swallow, which 
is similar in habits to the bank swallow, 
may be distinguished from it by its gray 
breast which has no dark band. 

THE TREE SWALLOW This graceful 
little bird builds naturally in holes in trees, 
but readily accepts a box if it is provided. 
It begins to build soon after it comes 
north in late April, and it is well for us 
to encourage the tree swallows to live near 

Leonard K. Beyer 

Nesting site of a colony of bank swallows 



George Fiske, Jr. 

A tree swallow 

our houses by building houses for them 
and driving away the English sparrows. 
The tree swallows live upon many insects 
which annoy us and injure our gardens 
and damage our orchards; they are, there- 
fore, much more desirable neighbors than 
the English sparrows. The tree swallows 
congregate in great numbers for the south- 
ern migration very early in the season. 

often in early August. They are likely to 
congregate in marshes, as are also the 
other swallows. In color the tree swallow 
has a green metallic back and head, and 
a pure white breast with no band across 
it; these peculiarities distinguish it from 
all other species. 

THE PURPLE MARTIN The martin is 
a larger bird than any other swallow, be- 
ing eight inches in length, while the barn 
swallow does not measure quite seven. 
The male is shining, steel-blue above and 
below; the female is brownish above, has 
a gray throat, brownish breast and is white 
beneath. The martins originally nested in 
hollow trees but for centuries have been 
cared for by man. The Indians were wont 
to put out empty gourds for them to nest 
in; and as soon as America was settled by 
Europeans, martin boxes were built ex- 

A. A. Allen 

Nest of chimney swifts 

Leonard K. Beyer 

Two bank swallows at the entrances to their 

tensively. But when the English sparrows 
came, they took possession of the boxes, 
and the martins have to a large extent dis- 
appeared; this is a pity since they are bene- 
ficial birds, feeding upon insects which 
are injurious to our farms and gardens. 
They are also delightful birds to have 
around, and we may possibly induce them 
to come back to us by building houses 
for them and driving away the sparrows. 


When the old-fashioned fireplaces 
went out of use and were walled up, leav- 
ing the great old chimneys useless, these 
sociable birds took possession of them. 



Here they built their nests and reared their 
young, and twittered and scrambled about, 
awakened all sleepers in the neighbor- 
hood at earliest dawn, and in many ways 
made themselves a distinct part of family 
life. With the disappearance of these old 
chimneys and the growing use of the 
smaller chimney, the swifts have been 
more or less driven from their close asso- 
ciation with people; and now their nests 
are often found in hay barns or other 
secluded buildings, although they still 
gather in chimneys when opportunity 

The chimney swifts originally built 
nests in hollow trees and caves; but with 
the coming of civilization they took pos- 
session of the chimneys disused during the 
summer, and here is where we know them 
best. The nests are shaped like little wall 
pockets; they are made of small sticks of 
nearly uniform size which are glued to- 
gether and glued fast to the chimney wall 
by means of the saliva secreted in the 
mouth of the bird. After the nesting sea- 
son, the swifts often gather in great flocks 
and live together in some large chimney; 
toward nightfall they may be seen cir- 
cling about in great numbers and drop- 
ping into the mouth of the chimney, one 
by one, as if they were being poured into 
a funnel. In the morning they leave in 
reverse manner, each swift flying about 
in widening circles as it leaves the chim- 
ney. The swifts are never seen to alight 
anywhere except in hollow trees or chim- 
neys or similar places; their tiny feet have 
sharp claws for clinging to the slightest 
roughness of the upright wall; the tail 
acts as a prop, each tail feather ending in 
a spine which is pressed against the chim- 
ney side when the bird alights, thus 
enabling it to cling more firmly. In this 
fashion the swifts roost, practically hung 
up against a wall. 

The swift has a short beak and wide 
mouth which it opens broadly to engulf 
insects as it darts through the air. Chim- 
ney swifts have been known to travel at the 
rate of no miles an hour. 

This bird should never be confused 
with the swallows, for when flying, its 

tail seems simply a sharp point, making the 
whole body cigar-shaped. This character- 
istic alone distinguishes it from the long- 
tailed swallows. In color it is sooty brown, 
with a gray throat and breast; the wings 
are long and narrow and apparently 
curved. The manner of flight and appear- 
ance in the air make it resemble the bat 
more than it does the swallow. 

Leaflets 13, 32, 33, and 49; Bird Stories, 
by Edith M. Patch (Cliff Swallow); Bird 
Stories from Burroughs, by John Bur- 
roughs (Chimney Swift) ; First Lessons in 
Nature Study, by Edith M. Patch (Cliff 
Swallow, Bank Swallow); Holiday Pond, 
by Edith M. Patch (Bank Swallow); Na- 
ture and Science Readers, by Edith M. 
Patch and Harrison E. Howe, Book i, 
Hunting (Bank Swallow), Book 2, Out- 
door Visits (Bank Swallow, Tree Swal- 
low), Book 3, Surprises (Tree Swallow), 
Book 5, Science at Home (Cliff Swallow) ; 
also, readings on pages 28-29. 


LEADING THOUGHT The swallows are 
very graceful birds and are exceedingly 
swift fliers. They feed upon insects which 
they catch upon the wing. There are five 
native swallows which are common the 
eave, or cliff, the barn, the bank, the tree 
swallow, and the purple martin. The 
chimney swift, although often called so, 
is not a swallow; it is more nearly related 
to the hummingbird than to the swallows. 

METHOD The questions should be 
given as an outline for observation, and 
may be written on the blackboard or 
placed in the field notebook. The pupils 
should answer them individually and 
from field observation. We s.:udy the 
swifts and swallows together to teach the 
pupils to distinguish them apart. 

OBSERVATIONS i. What is the gen- 
eral shape of the swallow? What is the 
color of the forehead, throat, upper breast, 
neck, rump, and tail? 

2. Is the tail noticeably forked, espe- 
cially during flight? 


Leonard K. Beyer 1 

Nest of bank swallows. The bank has been 
cut away so that the nest and eggs could be 

3. Describe the flight of the swallow. 
What are the purposes of its long, swift 
flight? How are the swallow's wings fitted 
for carrying the bird swiftly? 

4. Describe the form of the beak of 
the swallow. How does it get its food? 
What is its food? 

5. In what particular locations do 
you see the swallows darting about? 
At what time of day do they seem most 

6. Describe the swallow's legs and feet 
and explain why they look so different 
from those of the robin and blackbird. 


7. Where do the eave swallows build 
their nests? Of what material is the out- 
side? The lining? Describe the shape of 
the nest and how it is supported. 

8. How early in the spring do the eave 
swallows begin to make their nests? 
Where and by what means do they get 
the material for nest building? Are there 
a number of nests usually grouped to- 

9. Describe the eave swallow's egg. 
Where do the parents sit when feeding 
the young? What is the note of the eave 

10. What are the differences between 

the barn and the eave swallow in color 
and shape of tail? 


11. Where does the barn swallow place 
its nest? What is the shape of the nest? 
Of what material is it made? 

12. What is the color of the eggs? De- 
scribe the feeding of the young and the 
sounds made by them and their parents. 
Do both parents work together to build 
the nest and feed the young? 

13. Is there usually more than one nest 
in the same locality? When the young 
swallows are large enough to leave the 
nest, describe how the parents continue 
to care for them. 

14. Have you ever heard the barn swal- 
lows sing? Describe their conversational 

15. When do the barn swallows mi- 
grate and where do they go during the 
winter? How can you distinguish the barn 
swallow from the eave swallow? 


16. Where do the bank swallows build? 
What sort of soil do they choose? 

17. How does a bank which is tenanted 
by these birds look? 

18. How far do the bank swallows 
tunnel into the earth? What is the di- 
ameter of one of these tunnels? Do they 
extend straight or do they rise or deflect? 

A. A. Allen 

Nest and eggs of tree swallows 


19. With what tools is the tunnel exca- 
vated? Where is the nest situated in the 
tunnel and how is it lined? 


25. Where did the martins build their 
nests before America was civilized? 
Where do thev like to nest now? How do 

20. How can you distinguish this spe- the purple martins benefit us and how 
cies from the barn and eave and tree 
swallows? At what time do the bank swal- 
lows leave us for migration south? 


21. Where does the tree swallow make 
its nest? How does its nest differ from 
that of the barn ? eave, or bank swallow? 
When does it begin to build? 

22. How can we encourage the tree 
swallow to build near our houses? Why 
is the tree swallow a much more desirable 
bird to have in birdhouses than the Eng- 
lish sparrow? 

23. Describe the peculiar migrating 
habits of the tree swallow. How can you 
tell this species from the barn, the eave, 
and the bank swallows? 


24. Compare the purple martin with 
the swallows and describe how it differs in 
size and color. 

can w r e induce them to come to us? 


26. Where do the chimney swifts 
build their nests? Of what materials is the 
nest made? What is its shape and how is 
it supported? Where does the chimney 
swift get the glue which it uses for nest 

27. Describe how the chimney swifts 
enter their nesting place at night. Where 
and how do they perch? Describe the 
shape of the swift's tail and its use to the 
bird when roosting. 

28. On what does the chimney swift 
feed and how does it procure this food? 
Describe how its beak is especially fitted 
for this. 

29. How can you distinguish the chim- 
ney swift from the swallows? In what re- 
spect does the chimney swift resemble the 
swallows? In what respects does it differ 
from them? 


Formerly it was believed that this dain- 
tiest of birds found the nectar of flowers 
ample support for its active life; but the 
later methods of discovering what birds 
eat by examining the contents of their 
stomachs, show that the hummingbird is 
an insect eater of most ravenous appetite. 
Not only does it catch insects in mid 
air, but undoubtedly takes them while 
they are feasting on the nectar of the 
tubular flowers which the hummingbird 
loves to visit. Incidentally, the humming- 
bird carries some pollen for these flowers 
and may be counted as a friend in every 
respect, since usually the insects in the 
nectaries of those flowers with long tubu- 
lar corollas are stealing nectar without 
giving in return any compensation to the 
flower by carrying its pollen. Such insects 
may be the smaller beetles, ants, and flies. 

The adaptations of the hummingbird's 
beak and long, double-tubed tongue, are 
especially for securing this mingled diet 
of insects and nectar. It is interesting to 
note that the young hummingbirds have 
the beak much shorter than the mature 
birds. The hummingbird's beak is exactly 
fitted to probe those flowers where the 
bird finds its food. The tongue has the 
outer edges curved over, making a tube on 
each side. These tubes are provided with 
minute brushes at the tips and thus are 
fitted both for sucking nectar and for 
sweeping up the insects. 

The natural home of the hummingbird 
seems to have been in the American trop- 
ics. The male of our one species east of 
the Rocky Mountains has a ruby throat. 
This bird comes to us after a very long 
journey each year. One species on the Pa- 



The nest of the hummingbird is a 
most exquisite structure; it is about three- 
fourths of an inch in diameter on the in- 
side and about half an inch deep. It is, 
in shape, a symmetrical cup; the outside 
is covered with lichens, so that it exactly 
resembles the branch on which it rests; 
the inside is lined with the down of plant 
seeds and plant fibers. The lichens are 
often fastened to the outside with the 

A. A. Allen 

Ruby -throated hummingbird turning her 

cific Coast is known to travel three thou- 
sand miles to the north for the summer 
and back again in winter. 

Hummingbirds are not supposed to 
sing, but to use their voices for squeak- 
ing when angry or frightened. However, I 
once had the privilege of listening to a 
true song by a hummingbird on the Pacific 
Coast. The midget was perched upon a 
twig and lifted up his voice with every 
appearance of ecstasy in pouring forth his 
lay. To my uncultured ear this song was 
a fine, shrill, erratic succession of squeaks, 
" as fine as a cambric needle/' said my 

General Biological Supply House, Chicago 

Two young hummingbirds. They remain in 
nest for about three weeks 

General Biological Supply House, Chicago 

Not much larger than a walnut, the hum- 
mingbird's nest looks like a knot on a branch 

silk web of spiders or caterpillars. The nest 
is usually saddled on a branch of a tree 
from ten to fifty feet above the ground. 
The eggs are two in number and white; 
they look like tiny beans. The young are 
black and look, at first glance, more like 
insects than like birds. 

Biographies, by A. A. Allen; Audubon 
Bird Leaflet 56; Mother Nature Series, 
by Fannie W. Dunn and Eleanor Troxell, 
Book 3, In Field and Forest; Nature and 
Science Readers, by Edith M. Patch and 
Harrison E. Howe, Book i, Hunting, 
Book 5, Science at Home; also, readings 
on pages 28-29. 


bird in flight moves its wings so rapidly 
that we cannot see them. It can hold itself 
poised above flowers while it thrusts its 
long beak into them for nectar and in- 

METHOD Give the questions to the 


pupils and let them make the observations 
when they have the opportunity. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Where did you 
find the hummingbird? What flowers was 
it visiting? At what time of day? Can you 
tell whether it is a hummingbird or a 
hawkmoth which is visiting the flowers? 
At what time of day do the hawkmoths 

2. Did you ever see the hummingbird 
come to rest? Describe its actions while 


3. What are the colors of the back, 
throat, breast, and under parts? How do 
you distinguish the mother hummingbird 
from her mate? 

4. How does the hummingbird act 
when extracting the nectar? How does it 
balance itself in front of a flower? Have 
you ever seen hummingbirds catch insects 
in the air? If so, describe how they did it. 

5. Describe the hummingbird's nest. 
How large is it in diameter? What is the 
covering outside? With what is it lined? 


The blackbirds are among our earliest 
visitors in the spring; they come in flocks 
and beset our leafless trees like punctua- 
tion marks, meanwhile squeaking like mu- 
sical wheelbarrows. What they are, where 
they come from, where they are going and 
what they are going to do, are the ques- 
tions that naturally arise at the sight of 
these sable flocks. It is not easy to distin- 
guish grackles, cowbirds, and rusty black- 
birds at a glance, but the redwing pro- 
claims his identity from afar. The bright 
red epaulets, margined behind with pale 
yellow, make up a uniform which catches 
the admiring eye. The bird's glossy black 
plumage brings into greater contrast his 
bright decorations. No one who has seen 
his actions can doubt that he is fully 
aware of his beauty: he comes sailing 
down at the end of his strong, swift flight, 
and balances himself on some bending 
reed; then, dropping his long tail as if 
it were the crank of his music box, and 
holding both wings lifted to show his scar- 
let decorations, he sings his " quong-quer- 
ee-ee." Little wonder that such a hand- 
some, military-looking fellow should be 
able now and then to win more than 
his share of feminine admiration. But 
even though he become an entirely suc- 
cessful bigamist or even trigamist, he has 
proved himself to be a good protector 
of each and all of his wives and nestlings; 
however, he often has but one mate. 

" The redwing flutes his O-ka-lee " is 

Emerson's graphic description of the 
sweet song of the redwing; he also has 
many other notes. He clucks to his mates 
and clucks more sharply when suspicious, 
and has one alarm note that is truly alarm- 


Male and female red-winged blackbirds 

ing. The male redwings come from the 
South in March; they appear in flocks 7 
often three weeks before their mates ar- 
rive. The female looks as though she be- 
longed to quite a different species. Al- 



Nest and eggs of the red-winged blackbird 

though her head and back are black, the 
black is decidedly rusty; it is quite im- 
possible to describe her, she is so incon- 
spicuously speckled with brown, black, 
whitish buff, and orange. Most of us never 
recognize her unless we see her with her 
spouse. She probably does most of the 
nest building, and her suit of salt, pepper, 
and mustard renders her invisible to the 
keen eyes of birds of prey. Only when she 
is flying does she show her blackbird char- 
acteristics her tail being long and of ob- 
vious use as a steering organ; and she walks 
with long, stiff strides. The redwings are 
ever to be found in and about swamps 
and marshes. The nest is usually built in 
May; it is made of grasses and stalks of 
weeds and is lined with finer grass or 
reeds. It is bulky and is placed in low 
bushes or among the reeds. The eggs are 
pale blue, streaked and spotted with 
purple or black. The young resemble the 
mother in color, the males being obliged 
to wait a year for their epaulets. As to 
the food of the redwings here in the 
North, Mr. Forbush has said: 

" Although the red-wings almost invari- 
ably breed in the swamp or marsh, they 
have a partiality for open fields and 
plowed lands; however, most of the black- 
birds that nest in the smaller swamps ad- 
jacent to farm lands get a large share of 
their food from the farmer's fields. They 
forage about the fields and meadows when 
they first come north in the spring. Later, 
they follow the plow, picking up grubs, 
worms and caterpillars; and should there 
be an outbreak of canker-worms in the or- 
chard, the blackbirds will fly at least half 
a mile to get canker-worms for their young. 
Wilson estimated that the red-wings of 
the United States would in four months 
destroy sixteen thousand two hundred 

A. A. Allen 

The mother arrives with food for her young 

million larvas. They eat the caterpillars of 
the gypsy moth, the forest tent-caterpillar, 
and other hairy larvae. They are among 
the most destructive birds to weevils, click 
beetles, and wire-worms. Grasshoppers, 
ants, bugs, and flies form a portion of the 
red-wing's food. They eat comparatively 
little grain in Massachusetts although they 
get some from newly sown fields in spring, 
as well as from the autumn harvest; but 
they feed very largely on the seeds of 
weeds and wild rice in the fall. In the 



South they join with the bobolink in 
devastating the rice fields, and in the 
West they are often so numerous as to 
destroy the grain in the fields; but here [in 
the North and East] the good they do far 
outweighs the injury, and for this reason 
they are protected by law." 

Leaflet 25; also, readings on pages 28-29. 


LEADING THOUGHT The red-winged 
blackbird lives in the marshes where it 
builds its nest. However, it comes over 
to our plowed lands and pastures and 
helps the farmer by destroying many in- 
sects which injure the meadows, crops, 
and trees. 

METHOD The observations should be 
made by the pupils individually in the 
field. These birds may be looked for in 
flocks early in the spring, but the study 
should be made in May or June when they 
will be found in numbers in almost any 
swamp. The questions may be given to the 
pupils a few at a time or written in their 
field notebooks and the answers discussed 
when discovered. 

OBSERVATIONS i . How can you dis- 
tinguish the red-winged blackbird from 
all other blackbirds? Where is the red 
on his wings? Is there any other color be- 
sides black on the wings? Where? What 
is the color of the rest of the plumage of 
this bird? 

2. What is there peculiar in the flight 
of the redwing? Is its tail long or short? 
How does it use its tail in flight? What is 

its position when the bird alights on a 

3. What is the song of the redwing? 
Describe the way he holds his wings and 
tail when singing, balanced on a reed or 
some other swamp grass. Does he show off 
his epaulets when singing? What note 
does he give when he is surprised or sus- 
picious? When frightened? 

4. When does the redwing first appear 
in the spring? Does he come alone or in 
flocks? Does his mate come with him? 
Where do the redwings winter? In what 
localities do the red-winged blackbirds 
live? Why do they live there? What is the 
color of the mother redwing? Would you 
know by her looks that she was a black- 
bird? What advantage is it to the pair 
that the female is so dull in color? 

5. At what time do these birds nest? 
Where is the nest built? Of what ma- 
terial? How is it concealed? What is the 
color of the eggs? 

6. Do the young birds resemble in color 
their father or their mother? Why is this 
an advantage? 

7. Is the redwing ever seen in fields 
adjoining the marshes? What is he doing 
there? Does he walk or hop when looking 
for food? What is the food of the red- 
wings? Do they ever damage grain? Do 
they not protect grain more than they 
damage it? 

8. What great good do the redwings 
do for forest trees? For orchards? 

9. At what time in the summer do the 
redwings disappear from the swamps? 
Where do they gather in flocks? Where 
is their special feeding ground on the way 
south for the winter? 



The Baltimore oriole 


I know his name, I know his note, 

That so with rapture takes my soul; 
Like flame the gold beneath his throat, 

His glossy cope is black as coal. 
O Oriole, it is the song 

You sang me from the cottonwood, 
Too young to feel that I was young, 

Too glad to guess if life were good. 

Dangling from the slender, drooping 
branches of the elm in winter, these 
pocket nests look like some strange per- 
sistent fruit; and, indeed, they are the 
fruit of much labor on the part of the 
oriole weavers, those skilled artisans of 
the bird world. Sometimes the oriole 
" For the summer voyage his hammock 
swings " in a sapling, placing it near the 
main stem and near the top; otherwise it 
is almost invariably hung at the end of 
branches and is rarely less than twenty 
feet from the ground. The nest is pocket- 
shaped, and usually about seven inches 
long, and four and a half inches wide at 
the largest part, which is the bottom. The 

top is attached to forked twigs at the Y 
so that the mouth or door will be kept 
open to allow the bird to pass in and out; 
when within, the weight of the bird 
causes the opening to contract somewhat 
and protects the inmate from prying eyes. 
Often the pocket hangs free so that the 
breezes may rock it, but in one case we 
found a nest with the bottom stayed to 
a twig by guy lines. The bottom is much 
more closely woven than the upper part 
for a very good reason, since the open 
meshes admit air to the sitting bird. The 
nest is lined with hair or other soft ma- 
terial, and although this is added last, the 
inside of the nest is woven first. The ori- 



oles like to build the framework of twine, 
and it is marvelous how they will loop this 
around a twig almost as evenly knotted as 
if crocheted; in and out of this net the 
mother bird with her long, sharp beak 
weaves bits of wood fiber, strong, fine 
grass, and scraps of weeds. The favorite 
lining is horsehair, which simply cushions 
the bottom of the pocket. Dr". Detwiler 
had a pet oriole which built her nest of 
his hair, which she pulled from his head; 
is it possible that orioles get their supply 
of horsehair in a similar way? If we put 
bright-colored twine or narrow ribbons in 
convenient places, the orioles will weave 
them into the nest, but the strings should 
not be long lest the birds become entan- 
gled. If the nest is strong the birds may 
use it a second year. 

That Lord Baltimore found in new 
America a bird wearing his colors must 
have cheered him greatly; and it is well 
for us that this brilliant bird brings to our 
minds kindly thoughts of that tolerant, 
high-minded English nobleman. The ori- 
ole's head, neck, throat, and part of the 
back are black; the wings are black but the 
feathers are margined with white; the tail 
is black except that the ends of the outer 
feathers are yellow; all the rest of the bird 
is golden orange, a luminous color which 
makes him seem a splash of brilliant sun- 
shine. The female, although marked much 
the same, has the back so dull and mot- 
tled that it looks olive-brown; the rump, 
breast, and under parts are yellow but by 
no means showy. The advantage of these 
quiet colors to the mother bird is obvious, 
since it is she that makes the nest and 
sits in it without attracting attention to 
its location. In fact, when she is sitting, 
her brilliant mate places himself far 
enough away to distract the attention of 
meddlers, yet near enough for her to see 
the flash of his breast in the sunshine and 
to hear his rich and cheering song. He 
is a good spouse and brings her the ma- 
terials for the nest which she weaves in, 
hanging head downward from a twig and 
using her long sharp beak for a shuttle. 
And his glorious song is for her alone. 
Some hold that no two orioles have the 

C. R. Crosby 

An oriole's nest, anchored to the windward 

same song, and I know of two individuals 
at least whose songs were sung by no other 
birds: one gave a phrase from the Wald- 
vogel's song in Siegfried; the other whis- 
tled over and over, " Sweet birdie, hello, 
hello/ 7 The orioles can chatter and scold 
as well as sing. 

The oriole is a brave defender of his 
nest and a most devoted father, working 
hard to feed his ever-hungry nestlings; we 
can hear these hollow mites peeping for 
more food, " Tee dee dee, tee dee dee/ 7 
shrill and constant, if we stop for a mo- 
ment under the nest in June. The young 
birds dress in the safe colors of the mother, 
the males not donning their bright plum- 
age until the second year. A brilliant col- 
ored fledgling would not live long in a 
world where sharp eyes are in constant 
quest for little birds to fill empty stom- 

The food of the oriole places it among 
our most beneficial birds, since it is al- 
ways ready to cope with the hairy cater- 
pillars avoided by most birds; it has learned 
to abstract the caterpillar from his spines 
and is thus able to swallow him minus his 



Young orioles just out of the nest 

" whiskers/' The orioles are waging a great 
war against the terrible brown-tail and 
gypsy moths; they also eat click beetles 
and many other noxious insects. Once 
when we were breeding big caterpillars in 
the Cornell University Insectary, an oriole 
came in through the open windows of 

Leonard K. Beyer 

An orchard oriole 

the greenhouse, and thinking he had 
found a bonanza proceeded to work it, 
carrying off our precious crawlers before 
we discovered what was happening. 

The orioles winter in Central America 
and give us scarcely four months of their 

company. They do not usually appear be- 
fore May and leave in early September. 
Biographies, by A. A. Allen; Audubon 
Bird Leaflet 26; Bird-House to Let, by 
Mary F. Terrel; Bird Stories from Bur- 
roughs, by John Burroughs; Nature and 
Science Readers, by Edith M. Patch and 
Harrison E. Howe, Book 2, Outdoor 
Visits; Pathways in Science, by Gerald S. 
Craig and Co-authors, Book 3, Our Wide, 
Wide World; also, readings on pages 28- 


LEADING THOUGHT The oriole is the 
most skillful of all our bird architects. 
It is also one of our prized song birds 
and is very beneficial to the farmer and the 
fruit grower because of the insect pests 
which it destroys. 

METHOD Begin during winter or 
early spring with a study of the nest, which 
may be obtained from the elms of the 
roadsides. During the first week in May, 
give the questions concerning the birds 
and their habits. Let the pupils keep the 
questions in their notebooks and answer 
them when they have opportunity. The 



observations should be summed up once 
a week. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Where did you 
find the nest? On what species of tree? 
Was it near the trunk of the tree or the 
tip of the branch? 

2. What is the shape of the nest? How 
long is it? How wide? Is the opening as 
large as the bottom of the nest? How is 
it hung to the twigs so that the opening 
remains open and does not pull together 
with the weight of the bird at the bottom? 
Is the bottom of the nest stayed to a 
twig or does it hang loose? 

3. With what material and how is the 
nest fastened to the branches? Of what 
material is the outside made? How is it 
woven together? Is it more loosely woven 
at the top than at the bottom? How many 
kinds of material can you find in the out- 
side of the nest? 

4. With what is the nest lined? How 
far up is it lined? With what tool was the 
nest woven? If you put out bright-colored 
bits of ribbon and string do you think 
the orioles will use them? Why should 
you not put out long strings? 

5. At what date did you first see the 
Baltimore oriole? Why is it called the 
Baltimore oriole? How many other names 
has it? Describe in the following way the 
colors of the male oriole: top of head, 
back, wings, tail, throat, breast, under 
parts. What are the colors of his mate? 
How would it endanger the nest and nest- 
lings if the mother bird were as bright 
colored as the father bird? 

6. Which weaves the nest, the father 
or the mother bird? Does the former as- 
sist in any way in nest building? 

7. Where does the father bird stay and 

what does he do while the mother bird 
is sitting on the eggs? 

8. What is the oriole's song? Has he 
more than one song? What other notes 
has he? After the young birds hatch, does 
the father bird help take care of them? 

9. By the middle of June the young 
birds are usually hatched; if you know 
where an oriole nest is hung, listen and 
describe the call of the nestlings for food. 

10. Which parent do the young birds 
resemble in their colors? Why is this a 

11. What is the oriole's food? How is 
the oriole of benefit to us in ways in which 
other birds are not? 

12. Do the orioles use the same nest 
two years in succession? How long does 
the oriole stay in the North? Where does 
it spend its winters? 

Hush/ 'tis he/ 

My oriole, my glance of summer fire, 
Is come at last, and, ever on the watch, 
Twitches the packthread I had lightly 


About the bough to help his house- 
Twitches and scouts by turns, blessing his 


Yet fearing me who laid it in his way, 
Nor, more than wiser we in our affairs, 
Divines the Providence that hides and 

Heave, ho! Heave, ho/ he whistles as the 

Slackens its hold; once more, now/ and a 


Lightens across the sunlight to the elm 
Where his mate dangles at her cup of felt. 




Thoreau says: " What a perfectly New 
England sound is this voice of the crow! 
If you stand still anywhere in the out- 
skirts of the town and listen, this is per- 
haps the sound which you will be most 
sure to hear, rising above all sounds of 
human industry and leading your thoughts 
to some far-away bay in the woods. The 
bird sees the white man come and the 
Indian withdraw, but it withdraws not. 
Its untamed voice is still heard above the 
tinkling of the forge. It sees a race pass 
away, but it passes not away. It remains 
to remind us of aboriginal nature/ 7 

The crow is probably the most intelli- 
gent of all our native birds. It is quick to 
learn and clever in action, as many a 
farmer will testify who has tried to keep 
it out of corn fields with various devices, 
the harmless character of which the crow 
soon understood perfectly. Of all our 
birds, this one has the longest list of vir- 
tues and of sins, as judged from our stand- 
point; but we should listen to both sides 
of the case before we pass judgment. I 
find with crows, as with people, that I like 

some more than I do others. I do not like 
at all the cunning old crow which steals 
the suet I put on the trees in winter for 
the chickadees and nuthatches; and I have 
hired a boy with a shotgun to protect the 
eggs and nestlings of the robins and other 
birds in my neighborhood from the rav- 
ages of one or two cruel old crows that 
have developed the nest-hunting habit. 
On the other hand, I became a sincere 
admirer of a crow flock which worked in 
a field close to my country home, and I 
have been the chosen friend of several 
tame crows who were even more inter- 
esting than they were mischievous. 

The crow is larger than any other of 
our common black birds; the northern 
raven is still larger, but is very rarely seen. 
Although the crow's feathers are black, 
yet in the sunlight a beautiful purple iri- 
descence plays over the plumage, espe- 
cially about the neck and back; it has a 
compact but not ungraceful body, and 
long, powerful wings; its tail is medium 
sized and is not notched at the end; its 
feet are long and strong; the track shows 


three toes directed forward and one long 
one directed backward. The crow does 
not sail through the air as does the hawk, 
but progresses with an almost constant 
flapping of the wings. Its beak is very 
strong and is used for tearing the flesh 
of its prey and for defense, and in fact 
for almost anything that a beak could be 
used for; its eye is all black and is very 
keen and intelligent. When hunting for 
food in the field, it usually walks, but 
sometimes hops. The raven and the fish 
crows are the nearest relatives of the 
American crow, and next to them the jays. 
We should hardly think that the blue jay 
and the crow were related to look at them, 
but when we come to study their habits, 
much is to be found in common. 

The crow's nest is usually very large; it 
is made of sticks, of grape vines and bark, 
sod, horsehair, moss, and grasses. It is 
placed in trees or in tall bushes rarely less 
than twenty feet from the ground. The 
eggs are pale bluish green or nearly white 
with brownish markings. The young crows 
hatch in April or May. Both parents are 
devoted in the care of the young, and 
remain with them during most of the 
summer. I have often seen a mother crow 
feeding her young ones which were fol- 
lowing her with obstreperous caws, al- 
though they were as large as she. 

While the note of the crow is harsh 

Herbert E. Gray 

A crow's nest and eggs 

Young crows are a noisy lot 

when close at hand, it has a musical qual- 
ity in the distance. Mr. Mathews says: 
" The crow when he sings is nothing short 
of a clown; he ruffles his feathers, stretches 
his neck, like a cat with a fish bone in 
her throat, and with a most tremen- 
dous effort delivers a series of hen-like 
squawks." But aside from his caw, the 
crow has some very seductive soft notes. 
I have held long conversations with two 
pet crows, talking with them in a high, 
soft tone, and finding that they answered 
readily in a like tone in a most responsive 
way. I have also heard these same tones 
among the wild crows when they were 
talking together; one note is a guttural 
tremolo, most grotesque. 

Crows gather in flocks for the winter; 
these flocks number from fifty to several 
hundred individuals, all having a common 
roosting place, usually in pine or hemlock 
forests or among other evergreens. They 
go out from these roosts during the day 
to get food, often making a journey of 
many miles. During the nesting season 
they scatter in pairs, and they do not 
gather again in flocks until the young are 
fully grown. 

When crows are feeding in the fields 
there is usually, if not always, a sentinel 
posted on some high point so that he can 
give warning of danger. This sentinel is 



Verne Morton 

The story of a take-off. With the third wing 
beat the crow is away 

an experienced bird and is keen to detect 
a dangerous from a harmless intruder. I 
once made many experiments with these 
sentinels; I finally became known to those 
of a particular flock and I was allowed 
to approach within a few yards of where 
the birds were feeding, a privilege not ac- 
corded to any other person in the neigh- 

The crow is a general feeder and will 
eat almost any food; generally, however, 
it finds its food upon the ground. The 
food given to nestlings is very largely in- 
sects, and many pests are thus destroyed. 
The crows do harm to the farmer by pull- 
ing the sprouting com and by destroying 
the eggs and young of poultry. They also 
do much harm by destroying the eggs and 
nestlings of other birds which are bene- 
ficial to the farmer; they also do some 
harm by distributing the seeds of poison 
ivy and other noxious plants. All these 
must be set down in the account against 
the crow, but on the credit side must be 
placed the fact that it does a tremendous 
amount of good work for the farmer by 
eating injurious insects, especially the 
grubs and cutworms which work in the 
ground, destroying the roots of grasses 

and grains. It also kills many mice and 
other rodents which are destructive to 

One of the best methods of preventing 
crows from taking sprouting com is to 
treat the seed corn with some strong- 
smelling substance, such as tar. 

If any of the pupils in your school have 
had any experience with tame crows they 
will relate interesting examples of the 
love of the crow for glittering objects. 
I once knew a tame crow which stole all 
of the thimbles in the house and buried 
them in the garden; he would watch 
for a thimble to be laid aside when the 
sewing was dropped, and would seize it 
almost immediately. This same crow per- 
sisted in taking the clothespins off the 
line and burying them, so that he was 
finally imprisoned on wash-clays. He was 
fond of playing marbles with a little boy 
of the family. The boy would shoot a 
marble into a hole and then Billy, the 
crow, would take a marble in his beak 
and drop it into the hole. The bird seemed 
to understand the game and was highly 
indignant if the boy played out of turn 
and made shots twice in succession. 

Leaflet 77; Bird Stories, by Edith M. 
Patch; Bird Stories from Burroughs, by 
John Burroughs; The Crow in its Relation 
to Agriculture, by E. R. Kalmbach (U. S. 
Department of Agriculture, Farmers' Bul- 
letin 1102); Our Baclcdoor Neighbors, by 
Frank C. Pellett; The Pet Boole, by Anna 
B. Comstock; The Stir of Nature, by 
William H. Carr (Cleo and Mark); 
Wild Animals I Have Known, by Er- 
nest Thompson Seton; also, readings on 
pages 28-29. 


LEADING THOUGHT The crow has the 
keenest intelligence of all our common 
birds. It does good work for us and also 
does damage. We should study its ways 
before we pronounce judgment, for in 
some localities it may be a true friend and 
in others an enemy. 

METHOD This work should begin in 
winter with an effort on the part of the 



boys to discover the food of the crows 
while snow is on the ground. This is a 
good time to study their habits and their 
roosts. The nests are also often seen in 
winter, although usually built in ever- 
greens. The nesting season is in early 
April, and the questions about the nests 
should be given then. Let the other ques- 
tions be given when convenient. The 
flight, the notes, the sentinels, the food, 
the benefit and damage may all be taken 
as separate topics. 

The following topics may be given to 
correlate with work in English: "What 
a pet crow of my acquaintance did "; 
" Evidences of crow intelligence "; " A 
plea a crow might make in self-defense to 
the farmer who wished to shoot him "; 
" The best methods of preventing crows 
from stealing planted corn." 

OBSERVATIONS i. How large is the 
crow compared with other black birds? 

2. Describe its colors when seen in the 

3. Describe the general shape of the 

4. Are its wings long and slender or 
short and stout? 

5. Is the tail long or short? Is it notched 
or straight across the end? 

6. Describe the crow's feet. Are they 
large and strong or slender? How many 
toes does the track show in the snow or 
mud? How many are directed forward and 
how many backward? 

7. Describe a crow's flight compared 
with that of the hawk. 

8. Describe its beak and what it is used 

9. What is the color of the crow's eye? 

10. When hunting for food does the 
crow hop or walk? 

11. Which are the crow's nearest rela- 

12. Where and of what material do 
the crows build their nests? 

13. Describe the eggs. At what time of 
the year do the young crows hatch? Do 
both parents take care of and feed the 
young? How long do the parents care for 
the young after they leave the nest? 

14. What are the notes of the crow? If 
you have heard one give any note besides 
" caw," describe it. 

15. Where and how do crows live in 
winter? Where do they live in summer? 

16. Do they post sentinels if they are 
feeding in the fields? If so, describe the ac- 
tion of the sentinel on the approach of 

17. Upon what do the crows feed? 
What is fed to the nestlings? 

18. How do the crows work injury to 
the farmer? How do they benefit the 
farmer? Do you think they do more bene- 
fit than harm to the farmer and fruit- 

19. Have you known of instances of 
the crow's fondness for shining or glitter- 
ing articles, like pieces of crockery or tin? 


There never lived a Lord Cardinal who 
possessed robes of state more brilliant in 
color than the plumage of this bird. By 
the way, I wonder how many of us ever 
think when we see the peculiar red called 
cardinal, that it gained its name from the 
dress of this high functionary of the 
church? The cardinal grosbeak is the best 
name for the redbird because that de- 
scribes it exactly, both as to its color and 
its chief characteristic, since its beak is 
thick and large; the beak is also red, which 
is a rare color in beaks, and in order to 

make its redness more emphatic it is set 
in a frame of black feathers. The use of 
such a large beak is unmistakable, for it 
is strong enough to crush the hardest of 
seed shells or to crack the hardest and dri- 
est of grains. 

What cheer/ What cheer! 

That is the grosbeak's way, 

With his sooty face and his coat of red 

sings Maurice Thompson. Besides the 
name given above, this bird has been 



After Audubon Leaflet 18 

The cardinal grosbeak 

called in different localities the redbird, 
Virginia redbird, crested redbird, winter 
redbird, Virginia nightingale, the red 
corn-cracker; but it remained for James 
Lane Allen to give it another name in his 
masterpiece, The Kentucky Cardinal. 

The cardinal is a trifle smaller than the 
robin and is by no means slim and grace- 
ful, like the catbird or the scarlet tanager, 
but is quite stout and is a veritable chunk 
of brilliant color and bird dignity. The 
only bird that rivals him in redness is the 
scarlet tanager, which has black wings; the 
summer tanager is also a red bird, but is 
not so vermilion and is more slender and 
lacks the crest. The cardinal surely finds 
his crest useful in expressing his emotions; 
when all is serene, it lies back flat on the 
head, but with any excitement, whether 
of joy or surprise or anger, it lifts until it 
is as peaked as an old-fashioned nightcap. 
The cardinal's mate is of quiet color; her 
back is greenish gray and her breast buffy, 
while her crest, wings, and tail reflect in 
faint ways the brilliancy of his costume. 

The redbird's song is a stirring succes- 
sion of syllables uttered in a rich, ringing 
tone, and may be translated in a variety of 
ways. I have heard him sing a thousand 
times " tor-re'-do, tor-re'-do, tor-re'-do/' 
but Dr. Dawson has heard him sing " che'- 

pew, che'-pew, we'-woo, we'-woo "; 
" bird-ie, bird-ie, bird-ie; tschew, tschew, 
tschew "; and " chit-e-kew, chit-e-kew; he- 
weet, he-weet." His mate breaks the cus- 
tom of other birds of her sex and sings a 
sweet song, somewhat softer than his. 
Both birds utter a sharp note " tsip, tsip." 
The nest is built in bushes, vines, or low 
trees, often in holly, laurel, or other low 
evergreens, and is rarely more than six or 
eight feet above the ground. It is made of 
twigs, weed stems, tendrils, the bark of the 
grapevine, and coarse grass; it is lined with 
fine grass and rootlets; it is rather loosely 
constructed but firm and is well hidden, 
for it causes these birds great anguish to 
have their nest discovered. Three or four 
eggs are laid, which are bluish white or 
grayish, dully marked with brown. The 
father cardinal is an exemplary husband 
and father; he cares for and feeds his mate 
tenderly and sings to her gloriously while 
she is sitting; and he works hard catching 
insects for the nestlings. He is also a brave 
defender of his nest and will attack any 
intruder, however large, with undaunted 
courage. The fledglings have the dull color 
of the mother and have dark-colored bills. 
Until the young birds are able to take care 
of themselves, their dull color somewhat 
protects them from the keen eyes of their 
enemies. If the male fledglings were the 
color of their father, probably not one 
would escape a tragic death. While the 
mother bird is hatching the second 

Leonard K. Beyer 

The cardinal builds its nest in thick bushes or 


brood, the father keeps the first brood 
with him and cares for them; often 
the whole family remains together during 
the winter, making a small flock. How- 
ever, the flocking habit is not characteris- 
tic of these birds, and we only see them in 
considerable numbers when the exigencies 
of seeking food in the winter naturally 
bring them together. 

The cardinals are fond of the shrubbery 
and thickets of river bottoms near grain 
fields, or where there is plenty of wild 
grass, and they only visit our premises 
when driven to us by winter hunger. Their 
food consists of the seeds of rank weeds, 
corn, wheat, rye, oats, beetles, grasshop- 
pers, flies, and to some extent, wild and 
garden berries; but they never occur in 
sufficient numbers to be a menace to our 
crops. The cardinals may often be seen in 
the cornfields after the harvest, and will 
husk an overlooked ear of corn and crack 
the kernels with their beaks in a most 
dexterous manner. During the winter we 
may coax them to our grounds by scatter- 
ing corn in some place not frequented by 
cats; thus, we may induce them to nest 
near us, since the cardinal is not naturally 
a migrant but likes to stay in one locality 
summer and winter. It has been known to 
come as far north as Boston and southern 
New York, but it is found in greatest 
numbers in our Southern states. 

Leaflet 18; also, readings on pages 28-29. 


LEADING THOUGHT The cardinal is 
the most brilliantly colored of all our 
birds, and one of our most cheerful sing- 
ers. We should seek to preserve it as a 
beautiful ornament to our groves and 

METHOD This work must be done 
by personal observation in the field. The 
field notes should be discussed in school. 

OBSERVATIONS i . Do you know the 
cardinal? Why is it so called? 

2. How many names do you know for 
this bird? 

Leonard "K. Beyer 

The cardinal sings a beautiful song 

3. Is the cardinal as large as the robin? 
Is it graceful in shape? 

4. Is there any color except red upon it? 
If so ? where? 

5. What other vividly red birds have 
we and how can we distinguish them from 
the cardinal? 

6. Describe the cardinal's crest and how 
it looks when lifted. Why do you think it 
lifts it? 

7. Describe its beak as to color, shape, 
and size. What work is such a heavy beak 
made for? 

8. Is the cardinal's mate the same color 
as he? Describe the color of her head, 
back, wings, tail, breast, 

9. Can you imitate the cardinal's song? 
What words do you think he seems to 
sing? Does his mate sing also? Is it usual 
for mother birds to sing? What other 
notes besides songs do you hear him utter? 

10. Where does the cardinal usually 
build its nest? How high from the 
ground? Of what materials? Is it compact 
or bulky? How many eggs are there and 
what are their colors? 

11. How does the father bird act while 
his mate is brooding? How does he help 
take care of the young in the nest? 

12. How do the fledglings differ in color 
from their father? From their mother? Of 
what use to the young birds is their sober 



13. What happens to the fledglings of 
the first brood while the mother is hatch- 
ing the eggs of the second brood? 

14. In what localities do you most often 
see the cardinals? Do you ever see them in 

15. What is the food of the cardinals? 
What do they feed their nestlings? 

16. Flow can you induce the cardinals 
to build near your home? 

17. What do you know about the laws 
protecting birds? Why should such laws 
be observed? 

Along the dust-white river road. 
The saucy redbird chirps and trills; 
His liquid notes resound and rise 
Until they meet the cloudless skies, 
And echo o'er the distant hills. 



To be called a goose should be con- 
sidered most complimentary, for of all the 
birds the goose is probably the most intel- 
ligent. An observant lady who keeps geese 
on her farm assures me that no animal, not 
even dog or horse, has the intelligence of 
the goose. She says that these birds learn 
a lesson after a few repetitions, and surely 

Canada geese in a field of grain 

her geese were patterns of obedience. 
While I was watching them one morning, 
they started for the brook via the corn- 
field; she called to them sharply, " No, no, 
you mustn't go that way! " They stopped 
and conferred; she spoke again and they 
waited, looking at her as if to make up 
their minds to this exercise of self-sacrifice; 
but when she spoke the third time they 
left the cornfield and took the other 
path to the brook. She could bring her 

geese into their house at any time of day 
by calling to them, " Home, home! " As 
soon as they heard these words, they 
would start and not stop until the last one 
was housed. 

In ancient Greece maidens made pets of 
geese; and often there was such a devotion 
between the bird and the girl that when 
the latter died her statue with that of the 
goose was carved on her burial tablet. The 
loyalty of a pet goose came under the ob- 
servation of Miss Ada Georgia. A lone 
gander was the special pet of a small boy 
in Elmira, New York, who took sole care 
of him. The bird obeyed commands like 
a dog but would never let his little master 
out of his sight if he could avoid it; occa- 
sionally he would appear in the school 
yard, where the pupils would tease him 
by pretending to attack his master at the 
risk of being so severely whipped with 
the bird's wings that it was a test of 
bravery among the boys so to challenge 
him. His fidelity to his master was ex- 
treme; once when the boy was ill in bed, 
the bird wandered about the yard honking 
disconsolately and refused to eat; he was 
driven to the side of the house where his 
master could look from the window and 
he immediately cheered up, took his food, 
and refused to leave his post beneath the 
window while the illness lasted. 

The goose is a stately bird whether on 
land or water; its long legs give it good pro- 
portions when walking, and the neck, be- 
ing so much longer than that of the duck, 
gives an appearance of grace and dignity. 
The duck on the other hand is beautiful 

BIRDS 131 

only when on the water or on the wing; ciple of a propeller; but when swimming 

its short legs, placed far back and far out at around in the pond she uses them at al- 

the sides, make it a most ungraceful most right angles to the body. Although 

walker. The beak of the goose is harder in they are such excellent oars they are also 

texture and is not flat like the duck's; no efficient on land; when running, her body 

wonder the bird was a favorite with the an- may waddle somewhat, but her head and 

cient Greeks, for the high ridge from the neck are held aloft in stately dignity, 

beak to the forehead resembles the fa- The Toulouse are our common gray 

mous Grecian nose. The plumage of geese geese; the Embdens are pure white with 

orange bill and bright blue eyes. The Afri- 
can geese have a black head with a large 
black knob on the base of the black bill; 

is very beautiful and abundant and for 
this reason they are profitable domestic 

birds. They are picked late in summer 7 

when the feathers are nearly ready to be the neck is long, snakelike, light gray, with' 

molted; at this time the geese flap their a dark stripe down the back; the wings and 

wings often and set showers of loose feath- tail are dark gray; there is a dewlap at the 

ers flying. A stocking or a bag is slipped throat. The brown Chinese geese have 

s^fm*- J-~U ^ "U.J_,J'T 1 1 _1 . i i 11 11 i f 11 it -. - 

over the bird's head and she is turned 
breast side up with her head firmly be- 
tween the knees or under the arm of the 
picker. The tips of the feathers are seized 
with the fingers and come out easily; only 
the breast, the under parts, and the feath- 

also a black beak and a black knob at the 
base of the bill. The neck is light brown 
with a dull yellowish stripe down the 
neck. The back is dark brown; breast, 
wings, and tail are grayish brown. The 
white Chinese are shaped like the brown 

ers beneath the wings are plucked. Geese Chinese, but the knob and bill are orange 
do not seem to suffer while being plucked and the eyes light blue, 
except through the temporary inconven- 

ience and ignominy of having their heads 
thrust into a bag; their dignity is hurt 
more than their bodies. 

The wings of geese are very large and 
beautiful; although our domestic geese 
have lost their powers of flight to a great 
extent, yet they often stretch their wings 
and take little flying hops, teetering along 
as if they can scarcely keep on earth; this 
must surely be reminiscent of the old in- 
stinct for traveling in the skies. The tail 
of the goose is a half circle and is spread 
when flying; although it is short, it seems 
to be sufficiently long to act as a rudder. 
The legs of the goose are much longer 
than those of the duck; they are not set so 
far back toward the rear of the body, and 
therefore the goose is the much better 
runner of the two. The track made by the 
goose's foot is a triangle with two scallops 
on one side made by the webs between the 
three front toes; the hind toe is placed 
high up; the foot and the unfeathered por- 
tion of the leg, protected by scales, are 
used as oars when the bird is swimming. 
When she swims forward rapidly, her feet 
extend out behind her and act on the prin- 


Geese are monogamous and are loyal 
to their mates. Old-fashioned people de- 
clare that they choose their mates on Saint 
Valentine's Day, but this is a pretty myth; 
when once mated, the pair live together 
year after year until one dies; an interest- 
ing instance of this is one of the traditions 
in my own family. A fine pair of geese 
belonging to my pioneer grandfather had 
been mated for several years and had 
reared handsome families; but one spring 
a conceited young gander fell in love with 
the old goose, and as he was young and 
lusty, he whipped her legitimate lord and 
master and triumphantly carried her away, 
although she was manifestly disgusted 
with this change in her domestic fortunes. 
The old gander sulked and refused to be 
comforted by the blandishments of any 
young goose whatever. Later the old pair 
disappeared from the farmyard and the 
upstart gander was left wifeless. It was in- 
ferred that the old couple had run away 
with each other into the encompassing 
wilderness and much sympathy was felt 
for them because of this sacrifice of their 



lives for loyalty. However, this was mis- 
placed sentiment, for later in the summer 
the happy pair was discovered in a distant 
" slashing " with a fine family of goslings, 
and all were brought home in triumph. 
The old gander, while not able to cope 
with his rival, was still able to trounce 
any of the animal marauders which ap- 
proached his home and family. 

The goose lines her nest with down and 
the soft feathers which she plucks from her 
breast. The gander is very devoted to his 
goose while she is sitting; he talks to her 
in gentle tones and is fierce in her defense. 
The eggs are about twice as large as those 
of the hen and have the ends more 

A. A. Allen 

A pair of Canada geese. While one broods the 
eggs the other stands guard 

rounded. The period of incubation is four 
weeks. The goslings are beautiful little 
creatures, covered with soft down, and 
have large, bright eyes. The parents give 
them most careful attention from the first. 
One family which I studied consisted of 
the parents and eighteen goslings. The 
mother was a splendid African bird; she 
walked with dignified step, her graceful 
neck assuming serpentine curves; and she 
always carried her beak "lifted/' which 
gave her an appearance of majestic haugh- 
tiness. The father was just a plebeian 
white gander, probably of Embden de- 
scent, but he was a most efficient pro- 
tector. The family always formed a proces- 
sion in going to the creek, the majestic 
mother at .the head, the goslings following 
her and the gander bringing up the rear to 

be sure there were no stragglers; if a gos- 
ling strayed away or fell behind, the male 
went after it, pushing it back into the 
family circle. When entering the coop at 
night he pushed the little ones in gently 
with his bill; when the goslings took their 
first swim, both parents gently pushed 
them into the water, " rooted them in," 
as the farmer said. Any attempt to take 
liberties with the brood was met with 
bristling anger and defiance on the part of 
the gander; the mistress of the farm told 
me that he had whipped her black and 
blue when she tried to interfere with the 

The gander and goose always show sus- 
picion and resentment by opening the 
mouth wide and making a hissing noise, 
showing the whole round tongue in 
mocking defiance. When the gander at- 
tacks, he thrusts his head forward, even 
with or below the level of his back, seizes 
his victim firmly with his hard, toothed 
bill so that it cannot get away, and then 
with his strong wings beats the life out of 
it. I remember vividly a whipping which a 
gander gave me when I was a child, hold- 
ing me fast by the blouse while he laid on 
the blows. 

Geese feed much more largely upon 
land vegetation than do ducks; a good 
growth of clover and grass makes excellent 
pasture for them; in the water, they feed 
upon water plants but do not eat insects 
and animals to any extent. 

Undoubtedly goose language is varied 
and expresses many things. Geese talk to 
each other and call from afar; they shriek 
in warning and in general make such a 
turmoil that people do not enjoy it. The 
goslings, even when almost grown, keep 
up a constant " pee wee, pee wee," which 
is nerve-racking. There is a good oppor- 
tunity for some interesting investigations 
in studying out just what the different 
notes of the geese mean. 

The goose is very particular about her 
toilet; she cleans her breast and back and 
beneath her wings with her bill; and she 
cleans her bill with her foot; she also 
cleans the top of her head with her foot 
and the under side of her wing with the 

foot of that side. When oiling her feath- 
ers, she starts the oil gland flowing with 
her beak, then rubs her head over the 
gland until it is well oiled; she then uses 
her head as a " dauber " to apply the oil 

BIRDS 133 

to the feathers of her back and breast. 
When thus polishing her feathers, she 
twists the head over and over and back and 
forth to add to its efficiency. 

The Jack Miner Migratory Bird Foundation, Inc. 

One corner of Jack Miner's Bird Sanctuary, Kingsville, Ontario, Canada, where Canada 

geese find food, shelter } and protection 


There is a sound, that, to the weather- 
wise farmer, means cold and snow, even 
though it is heard through the hazy atmos- 
phere of an Indian summer day; and that 
is the honking of wild geese as they pass 
on their southward journey. And there is' 
not a more interesting sight anywhere in 
the autumn landscape than the wedge- 
shaped flock of these long-necked birds 
with their leader at the front apex. " The 
wild goose trails his harrow/' sings the 
poet; but only the aged can remember 
the old-fashioned harrow which makes this 
simile graphic. The honking which reveals 
to us the passing flock, before our eyes can 
discern the birds against the sky, is the 

call of the wise old gander who is the 
leader, to those following him, and their 
return salute. He knows the way on this 
long thousand-mile journey, and knows it 
by instinct and in part by the topography 
of the country. If ever fog or storm hides 
the earth from his view, he is likely to be- 
come confused, to the dismay of his flock, 
which follows him to the earth with many 
lonely and distressful cries. 

The northern migration takes place in 
April and May, and the southern from 
October to December. The journey is 
made with stops for rest and refreshment 
at certain selected places, usually some se- 
cluded pond or lake. The food of wild 


geese consists of water plants, seeds and 
corn, and some of the smaller animals liv- 
ing in water. Although the geese come to 
rest on the water, they go to the shore to 
feed. In California, the wild geese are 
dreaded visitors of the cornfields, and men 
with guns are employed regularly to keep 
them off. 

The nests are made of sticks lined with 
down, usually along the shores of streams, 
sometimes on tree stumps and sometimes 
in deserted nests of the osprey. There are 

A. R. Dugmore 

Wild geese flying in even ranks 

only four or five eggs laid and both parents 
are devoted to the young, the gander 
bravely defending his nest and family 
from the attacks of any enemies. 

Although there are several species of 
wild geese on the Atlantic Coast, the one 
called by this name is usually the Canada 
goose. This bird is a superb creature, 
brown above and gray beneath, with head, 
neck, tail, bill, and feet of black. These 
black trimmings are highly ornamental 
and, as if to emphasize them, there is a 
white crescent-shaped " bib " extending 
from just back of the eyes underneath the 
head. This white patch is very striking, 
and gives one the impression of a bandage 
for sore throat. It is regarded as a call- 
color, and is supposed to help keep the 
flock together; the side tail-coverts are also 
white and may serve as another guide to 

Often some wounded or wearied bird 
of the migrating flock spends the winter 
in farmyards with domestic geese. One 
morning a neighbor of mine found that 
during the night a wild gander, injured 
in some way, had joined his flock. The 
stranger was treated with much courtesy 
by its new companions as well as by the 
farmer's family and soon seemed per- 
fectly at home. The next spring he mated 
with one of the domestic geese. In the late 
summer, my neighbor, mindful of wild 
geese habits, clipped the wings of the gan- 
der so that he would be unable to join any 
passing flock of his wild relatives. As the 
migrating season approached, the gander 
became very uneasy; not only was he un- 
easy and unhappy always but he insisted 
that his wife share his misery of unrest. 
He spent days in earnest remonstrance 
with her and, lifting himself by his 
cropped wings to the top of the barnyard 
fence, he insisted that she keep him com- 
pany on this, for webbed feet, uneasy rest- 
ing place. Finally, after many days of 
tribulation, the two valiantly started south 
on foot. News was received of their prog- 
ress for some distance and then they were 
lost to us. During the winter our neighbor 
visited a friend living eighteen miles to the 
southward and found in his barnyard the 
errant pair. They had become tired of mi- 
grating by tramping and had joined the 
farmer's flock; but we were never able to 
determine the length of time required for 
this journey. 

Leaflet 106; Birds in the Wilderness, by 
George M. Sutton; Farm Animals, by 
James G. Lawson; Nature and Science 
Readers, by Edith M. Patch and Harrison 
E. Howe, Book 2, Outdoor Visits, Book 3, 
Surprises; The Pet Boot, by Anna B. 
Comstock; also, readings on pages 28-29. 


LEADING THOUGHT Geese are the 
most intelligent of the domesticated birds, 
and they have many interesting habits. 

METHOD This lesson should not be 


given unless there are geese where the 
pupils may observe them. The questions 
should be given a few at a time and an- 
swered individually by the pupils after the 
observations are made. 

OBSERVATIONS i. What is the chief 
difference between the appearance of a 
goose and a duck? How does the beak of 
the goose differ from that of the duck in 
shape and in texture? Describe the nostrils 
and their situation. 

2. What is the difference in shape be- 
tween the neck of the goose and that of 
the duck? 

3. What can you say about the plum- 
age of geese? How are geese " picked "? 
At what time of year? From what parts 
of the body are the feathers plucked? 

4. Are the wings of the goose large com- 
pared with the body? How do geese exer- 
cise their wings? Describe the tail of the 
goose and how it is used. 

5. How do the legs and feet of the 
goose differ from those of the duck? De- 
scribe the goose's foot. How many toes are 
webbed? Where is the other toe? What is 
the shape of the track made by the goose's 
foot? Which portions of the legs are used 
for oars? When the goose is swimming 
forward where are her feet? When turning 
around how does she use them? Does the 
goose waddle when walking or running as 
a duck does? Why? Does a goose toe in 
when walking? Why? 

6. Describe the shape and color of the 
following breeds of domestic geese: The 
Toulouse, the Embden, the African, and 
the Chinese. 


1. What is the chief food of geese? 
What do they find in the water to eat? 
How does their food differ from that of 

2. How do geese differ from hens in the 
matter of mating and nesting? At what 
time of year do geese mate? Does a pair 
usually remain mated for life? 

3. Describe the nest and compare the 
eggs with those of hens. Describe the 
young goslings in general appearance. 
With what are they covered? What care 
do the parents give to their goslings? De- 
scribe how the parents take their family 
afield. How do they induce their goslings 
to go into the water for the first time? How 
do they protect them from enemies? 

4. How does the gander or goose fight? 
What are the chief weapons? How is the 
head held when the attack is made? 

5. How does the goose clean her feath- 
ers, wings, and feet? How does she oil her 
feathers? Where does she get the oil and 
with what does she apply it? 

6. How much of goose language do you 
understand? What is the note of alarm? 
How are defiance and distrust expressed? 
How does a goose look when hissing? 
What is the constant note which the gos- 
ling makes? 

7. Give such instances as you may know 
illustrating the intelligence of geese, their 
loyalty and bravery. 

8. " The Canada Goose, its appearance, 
nesting habits, and migrations," would be 
an interesting topic for discussion. 


native to China, have been introduced into many 
other parts of the world. They were first brought 
to the United States in 1881 and since then have 
become common in many of the states. The 
cock is handsome and brightly colored, the hen 
an inconspicuous brown. These pheasants are 
found in fields and in hedgerows or brush- 
covered areas rather than in forested sections. 
They feed chiefly on the ground, eating weed 
seeds, insects, ungarnered grain, and wild or 
waste fruit. In winter, whenever the ground is 
covered with crusted snow or ice, it is hard for 
them to get food and many of them starve unless 
man feeds them. Another difficulty of theirs in 
winter is that their long tail feathers get loaded 
with snow and ice, which keeps them from going 
about after food and even from seeking shelter. 
(Photo by courtesy of Country Life in America) 

2. WILD TURKEY. This game bird was once 
common from New England southward and 
west to the Rocky Mountains. It has been 
exterminated in the North, but it is still found 
locally in the South and West. Because the 
wild turkey thrives upon a variety of foods 
and because it can adapt itself to varied con- 
ditions of climate, it is again being introduced 
in many sections of the country. (Photo by 
L. W. Brownell) 

grouse, a much prized game bird, is native 
to the eastern and central United States. It 
is a very hardy bird, being able to withstand 
extreme cold, and to live on the buds and twigs 
of trees when insects, berries, and seeds are 
not available. In winter ruffed grouse take 
shelter at night in a "pocket" of snow or be- 
neath brush; in summer they usually roost in 
trees. In appearance this bird is not unlike the 
dusky grouse (No. 5), (Photo by Marjorie 
Ruth Ross) 

in the eastern United States, except penin- 
sular Florida, and as far west as Colorado, 
except New Mexico and southern Texas, bob- 
white or quail are permanent residents. They 
like open fields with brushy fence-corners or 
low bushes near at hand for protection from 
storm and enemies. The pretty song is often 
translated bob-white or buck-wheat. The nest 
is made upon the ground under a bunch of 
grass or some bush, and in it are laid ten to 
eighteen white eggs. The family or covey will 
remain together until spring, and at night 
will squat close together in a circle with tails 
together and heads out ready to scatter in all 
directions at the slightest indication of dan- 
ger. In winter when quail are in this forma- 
tion, they may be covered with snow; and 
if a crust of sleet or ice which they are unable 
to break should form, the entire covey may 
smother or starve. (Photo by L. W. Brownell) 

5. DUSKY GROUSE. A relative of the ruffed 
grouse, this species is found in the Rocky 
Mountain regions of the United States and 
Canada. (Photo by L. W. Brownell) 

the Far West the woodcock is found wide- 
spread over the United States. It winters in 
the South. It lives largely on earthworms and 
grubs for which it probes moist soft earth 
with a long, sensitive bill. The courtship song- 
flights of the male are unique: with a call to 
his mate he rises into the air; by a series of 
loops he flies higher and higher until from a 
height of about two hundred feet he drops 
suddenly to a place on the ground very near 
where he started. The young quickly learn 
to fly, but until they do they are frequently 
carried from place to place by their mother 
who holds them between her legs with her feet. 
(Photo by Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr.) 


The beginning of \the strut. These gobblers are strutting before the camera, hidden ^ by brush, 
in an endeavor to attract the hen turkey whose mating call the camera man is imitating 


That the turkey and not the eagle 
should have been chosen for our national 
bird, was the conviction of Benjamin 
Franklin. It is a native of our country, it 
is beautiful as to plumage, and like the 
American Indian, it has never yielded en- 
tirely to the influences of civilization. 
Through the hundreds of years of domes- 
tication it still retains many of its wild 
habits. In fact, it has many qualities in 
common with the red man. Take for in- 
stance its sun dance, which anyone who 
is willing to get up early enough in the 
morning and who has a flock of turkeys 
at hand can witness. Miss Ada Georgia 
made a pilgrimage to witness this dance 
and describes it thus: "While the 
dawn was still faint and gray, the long 
row of birds on the ridge-pole stood up, 
stretched legs and wings and flew down 
into the orchard beside the barnyard and 
began a curious, high-stepping, * flip-flop ' 
dance on the frosty grass. It consisted of 

little, awkward, up-and-down jumps, var- 
ied by forward springs of about a foot, 
with lifted wings. Both hens and males 
danced, the latter alternately strutting and 
hopping and all ' singing/ the hens calling 
a ' Quit, quit/ the males accompanying 
with a high-keyed rattle, sounding like a 
hard wood stick drawn rapidly along a 
picket fence. As the sun came up and the 
sky brightened, the exhibition ended sud- 
denly when ' The Captain/ a great thirty 
pound gobbler and leader of the flock, 
made a rush at one of his younger breth- 
ren who had dared to be spreading a tail 
too near to his majesty/' 

The bronze breed resembles most 
closely our native wild turkey and is there- 
fore chosen for this lesson. The colors and 
markings of the plumage form the bronze 
turkey's chief beauty. Reaching from the 
skin of the neck halfway to the middle of 
the back is a collar of glittering bronze 
with greenish and purple iridescence, each 



feather tipped with a narrow jet band, the four. On the inner side of the gob- 
The remainder of the back is black except bier's legs, about one-third the bare space 
that each feather is edged with bronze. above the foot, is a wicked-looking spur 
The breast is like the collar and at its which is a most effective weapon. The 
center is a tassel of black bristles called wings are large and powerful; the turkey 
the beard which hangs limply downward flies well for such a large bird and usually 
when the birds are feeding; but when the roosts high, choosing trees or the ridge- 
gobbler stiffens his muscles to strut, this " " " * " 

pole of the bam for this purpose. 

In many ways the turkeys are not more 
than half domesticated. They insistently 
prefer to spend their nights out of doors 
instead of under a roof. They are also 
great wanderers and thrive best when al- 
lowed to forage in the fields and woods for 
a part of their food. 

The gobbler is the most vainglorious 
bird known to us; when he struts to show 
his flock of admiring hens how beautiful 
he is, he lowers his wings and spreads the 

of the hen are like those of the gobbler stiff primary quills until their tips scrape 
except that the bronze brilliance of breast, the ground, lifting meanwhile into a semi- 

beard is thrust proudly forth. Occasionally 
the hen turkeys have a beard. The long 
quills, or primaries, of the wings are barred 
across with bands of black and white; 
the secondaries are very dark, luminous 
brown, with narrower bars of white. Each 
feather of the fan-shaped tail is banded 
with black and brown and ends with a 
black bar tipped with white; the tail-cov- 
erts are lighter brown but also have the 
black margin edged with white. The colors 

neck, and wings is dimmed by the faint 
line of white which tips each feather. 

The heads of all are covered with a 
warty wrinkled skin, bluish white on the 
crown, grayish blue about the eyes, and 
the other parts are red. Beneath the throat 
is a hanging fold called the wattle, and 
above the beak a fleshy pointed knob 
called the caruncle, which on the gobbler 
is prolonged so that it hangs over and be- 
low the beak. When the bird is angry 
these carunculated parts swell and grow 
more vivid in color, seeming to be gorged 
with blood. The color of the skin about 
the head is more extensive and brilliant in 
the gobblers than in the hens. The beak is 
slightly curved, short, stout, and sharp- 
pointed, yellowish at the tip and dark at 
the base. 

The eyes are bright, dark hazel with a 
thin red line of iris. Just back of the eye is 
the opening of the ear, seemingly a mere 
hole, yet leading to a very efficient ear, 
upon which every smallest sound im- 

The legs of the young turkeys are nearly 
black, fading to a brownish gray when ma- 
ture. The legs and feet are large and stout, 
the middle toe of the three front ones be- 
ing nearly twice the length of the one on 
either side; the hind toe is the shortest of 

circular fan his beautiful tail feathers; he 
protrudes his chest, and raises the irides- 
cent plumage of his neck like a ruff to 
make a background against which he 
throws back his red, white, and blue deco- 
rated head. He moves forward with slow 
and mincing steps and calls attention to 
his grandeur by a series of most aggressive 
" gobbles/ 7 But we must say for the gob- 
bler that although he is vain he is also a 
brave fighter. When beginning a fight he 
advances with wings lowered and sidewise 
as if guarding his body with the spread 
wing. The neck and the sharp beak are 
outstretched and he makes the attack 
so suddenly that it is impossible to see 
whether he strikes with both wing and 
beak or only with the latter, as with fury 
he pounces upon his adversary apparently 
striving to rip his neck open with his spurs. 
Turkey hens usually begin to lay in 
April in this latitude (southern New 
York) and much earlier in more southern 
states. At nesting time each turkey hen 
strays off alone, seeking the most secluded 
spot she can find to lay the large, oval, 
brown-speckled eggs. Silent and sly, she 
slips away to the place daily, by the most 
roundabout ways, and never moving in 
the direction of the nest when she thinks 
herself observed. Sometimes the sight of 


any person near her nest will cause her to 
desert it. The writer has spent many hours 
when a child, sneaking in fence comers 
and behind stumps and tree trunks, stalk- 
ing turkeys' nests. Incubation takes four 
weeks. The female is a most persistent sit- 
ter and care should be taken to see that 
she gets a good supply of food and water 
at this time. Good sound corn or wheat is 
the best food for her at this period. When 
sitting she is very cross and will fight most 
courageously when molested on her nest. 

Turkey nestlings are rather large, with 
long, bare legs and scrawny, thin necks; 
they are very delicate during the first 
six weeks of their lives. Their call is a 
plaintive " peep, weep/' and when a little 
turkey feels lost its cry is expressive of 
great fear and misery. But if the mother 
is freely ranging she does not seem to be 
much affected by the needs of her brood; 
she will fight savagely for them if they are 
near her, but if they stray, and they usually 
do, she does not seem to miss or hunt for 
them, but strides serenely on her way, 
keeping up a constant crooning "kr-rit, 
kr-rit," to encourage them to follow. As a 
consequence, the chicks are lost, or get 
draggled and chilled by struggling through 
wet grass and leaves that are no obstacle 
to the mother's strong legs, and thus many 
die. If the mother is confined in a coop 
it should be so large and roomy that she 
can move about without trampling on the 
chicks, and it should have a dry floor, since 
dampness is fatal to the little ones. 

For the first week the chicks should be 
fed five times a day, and for the next five 
weeks they should have three meals a day. 
They should be given only just about 
enough to fill each little crop and none 
should be left over to be trodden under 
their awkward little feet. Their quarters 
should be kept clean and free from vermin. 

by James G. Lawson; also, readings on 
pages 28-29. 


LEADING THOUGHT The turkey is a 
native of America. It was introduced into 


Spain from Mexico about 1518, and since 
then has been domesticated. However, 
there are still in some parts of the coun- 
try flocks of wild turkeys. It is a beautiful 
bird and has interesting habits. 

METHOD If the pupils could visit a 
flock of turkeys, the lesson would be given 
to a better advantage. If this is impossible, 
ask the questions a few at a time and let 
those pupils who have opportunities for 
observing the turkeys give their answers 
before the class. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Of what breed are 
the turkeys you are studying: Bronze, 
Black, Buff, White Holland, or Narragan- 

2. What is the general shape and size 
of the turkey? Describe its plumage, not- 
ing every color which you can see in it. 
Does the plumage of the hen turkey difr 
fer from that of the gobbler? 

3. What is the covering of the head of 
the turkey, what is its color and how far 
does it extend down the neck of the bird? 
Is it always the same color; if not, what 
causes the change? Is the head covering 
alike in shape and size on the male and 
the female? What is the part called that 
hangs from the front of the throat below 
the beak? From above the beak? 

4. What is the color of the beak? Is it 
short or long, straight or curved? Where 
are the nostrils situated? 

5. What is the color of the turkey's 
eyes? Do you think it is a keen-sighted 

6. Where are the ears? Do they show 
as plainly as a chicken's ears do? Are tur 
keys quick of hearing? 

7. Do turkeys scratch like hens? Are 
they good runners? Describe the feet and 
legs as to shape, size, and color. Has the 
male a spur on his legs, and if so, where is 
it situated? For what is it used? 

8. Can turkeys fly well? Are the wings 
small or comparatively large and strong 
for the weight of the body? Do turkeys 
prefer high or low places for perching 
when they sleep? Is it well to house and 
confine them in small buildings and parks 
as is done with other fowls? 

9. Tell, as nearly as you can discover by 
close observation, how the gobbler sets 


each part of his plumage when he is scribe the turkey's egg, as well as you can, 

" showing off " or strutting. "What do you as to color, shape, and size. Can one tell it 

think is the bird's purpose in thus exhibit- by the taste from an ordinary hen's egg? 

ing his fine feathers? Does the " king of About how many eggs does the turkey hen 

the flock " permit any such action by lay in her nest before she begins to " get 

other gobblers in his company? broody " and want to sit? 

10. Are turkeys timid and cowardly or 13. How many days of incubation ^ are 
independent and brave, ready to meet and required to hatch the turkey chick? Is it as 
fight anything which they think is threat- downy and pretty as other little chicks? 
ening to their comfort and safety? How often should the young chicks be fed, 

11. When turkeys fight, what parts of and what food do you think is best for 
their bodies seem to be used as weapons? them? Are turkey chicks as hardy as other 
Does the male " gobble " during a fight, chicks? 

or only as a challenge or in triumph when 14. Is the turkey hen generally a good 

victorious? Do the hen turkeys ever fight, mother? Is she cross or gentle when sitting 

or only the males? and when brooding her young? Is it pos- 

12. How early in the spring does the sible to keep the mother turkey as closely 
turkey hen begin to lay? Does she nest confined with her brood as it is with the 
about the poultry yard and the bams or is mother hen? What supplies should be 
she likely to seek some secret and distant given to her in the way of food, grits, dust- 
spot where she may hide her eggs? De- baths, etc.? 


range of the shoveller extends from Alaska in 
summer to Colombia, South America, in win- 
ter. With its uniquely long, broad bill, this shal- 
low-water 'dabbler" gathers up water and 
ooze; by means of the comblike teeth with 
which the bill is equipped it strains out the in- 
sects and vegetable matter which are its fa- 
vorite food. (Photo by L. W. Brownell) 

2. THE MALLARD. The range of the mallard in 
North America extends in summer south of 
the Arctic circle, east to Hudson Bay, and south 
to Lower California and Texas. In winter it is 
found from the Aleutian Islands south to 
Panama. Being a "dabbler" the mallard gen- 
erally feeds in shallow water, but it is very 
adaptable as to food and environment. From 
the economic standpoint it is the most impor- 
tant duck in the world, since it is the ancestor 
of most domestic ducks, is 'widely distributed, 
and produces meat of good quality. (Photo by 
L. W. Brownell) 

3. LESSER SCAUP DUCKS. This is one of the 
most common ducks in the open waters of 
rivers, larger lakes and bays, and along sea- 
coasts. Its food, consisting chiefly of insects, 
crustaceans, water snails, tadpoles, and aquatic 
plants, it secures by diving. In the Gulf states, 
the lesser scaup is often called the " raft duck " 
because of the great numbers that collect into 
flocks and move about on the water. These 
rafts are sometimes a mile long. (Photo by 
S. A. Grimes) 

mer range of this grebe is from southern Canada 
to the southern United States; its winter range 
extends to Mexico and Cuba. It moves south 
when ice forms on northern streams, and re- 
turns when it breaks up in spring. Its food 
consists chiefly of aquatic animals and some 
water plants. To escape danger it dives rather 
than flies. This grebe, like others, often carries 
its young on its back, thus hiding them from 
observers; the mother can even dive with the 
young and when she comes again to the sur- 
face keep them still concealed. (Photo by Olin 
Sewall Pettingill, Jr.) 

The sandpiper (also called tip-up or tip-tail), 
said to be the most widely and commonly dis- 
tributed shore bird in North America, is found 
in regions about both fresh and salt water. Al- 
though it can swim and dive readily, its food 
consists chiefly of grasshoppers, cutworms, 
grubs, and pests of cultivated lands. The nest, 
a hollow in the ground, may be along shores or 
even in cultivated fields far from water; it is 
built by the united efforts of the pair. (Photo 
by L. W. Brownell) 

hatched chicks were picked up on a sandy beach 

and " posed 3} in a shell. (Photo by Olin Sewall 
Pettingill, Jr.) 

No. 6.) Wilson's plover is found in the coastal 
regions of southern North America and Cen~ 
tral America. It feeds on the tiny sea creatures 
that the falling tide leaves strewn along mud 
flats and sandy beaches. The nest, usually 
placed above high water on a sandy beach, is 
a hollowed out place in the sand. The young 
and eggs blend so with the sand as to be almost 
unnoticeable. In the one pictured here, note 
one egg beneath the female, one in front of her, 
and newly hatched chick behind her. (Photo 
by S. A. Grimes) 

8. KING RAIL ON ITS NEST. The range of this 
bird is in the central and southern portions of 
the eastern half of the United States. Its food 
consists largely of insects of cultivated lands, 
which it secures from the edges of swampy 
areas in upla?ids. Rails are found chiefly in 
grassy marshes. The legs are strong and the 
wings are weak, and hence when pursued they 
will run or hide, but will fly only as a last resort. 
(Photo by S. A. Grimes) 

live in both the Eastern and Western Hemi- 

Terns nest in colonies, usually on the open 
sand of an island beach. They can be distin- 
guished from gulls by their more pointed bills, 
narrower wings, and by their habit of diving or 
swimming to catch their food, which consists of 
small fish, aquatic worms, and insects. (Photo by 
S. A. Grimes) 

OR WHITE HERON. The summer range of this 
egret is chiefly from the southern United States 
south to Patagonia. In late summer it migrates 
northward to Maine. Its winter range is Colo- 
rado, Texas, and South Carolina southward. 
The egrets and other herons are commonly 
found about the shores of lakes, rivers, or bays. 
They usually nest in flocks. Once in danger of 
extinction, they are now under protection and 
are increasing in numbers. (Photo by S. A. 

SIVE. This inhabitant of the marshes ranges in 
summer across the North American continent 
from central Canada to the southern United 
States. In winter it is found from the southern 
United States to Panama. When approached 
bitterns fall into a rigid pose which they hold 
until the intruder retires or frightens them into 
flight. The cry of this bird is most arresting and 
unusual. It is compared to the sound of driving 
a stake or the sound of a pump in action. Frogs, 
snakes, small fish, mice, and insects comprise 
its food. (Photo by S. A. Grimes) 


It remains yet unresolved whether the happiness of a man in this world doth con- 
sist more in contemplation or action. Concerning which two opinions I shall forebear 
to add a third by declaring my own, and rest myself contented in telling you that 
both of these meet together, and do most properly belong to the most honest, ingen- 
ious, quiet and harmless art of angling. And first I tell you what some have observed, 
and I have found to be a real truth, that the very sitting by the riverside is not only the 
quietest and the fittest place for contemplation, but will invite an angler to it. 


Dear, human, old Isaak Walton discov- 
ered that nature-study, fishing, and phi- 
losophy were akin and as inevitably related 
as the three angles of a triangle. And yet 
it is surprising how little the fish have been 
used as subjects for nature lessons. Every 
brook and pond is a treasure to the teacher 
who will find what there is in it and who 
knows what may be got out of it. 

Almost any of the fishes found in a 
brook or pond may be kept in an aquar- 
ium for a few days of observation in the 
schoolroom. A large water pail or a bucket 
does very well if there is no glass aquar- 
ium. The water in an aquarium should 
be changed whenever it becomes foul. 
The practice should be established, once 
for all, of putting these finny prisoners 
back into the identical body of water from 
which they were taken. Much damage has 
been done by liberating fish in bodies of 
water where they do not belong. Many 
fish have cannibalistic traits: black bass, 

for instance, if they are either the new- 
comers or the original inhabitants, will 
be likely to attack and destroy other 
fish. Besides, even if the new home pro- 
vides suitable living conditions for the 
newcomers, they may upset the balance 
existing among the various forms of plant 
and animal life already there. 

Fishes, by J. O. LaGorce; Cold-blooded 
Vertebrates, by Samuel F. Hildebrand, 
Charles W. Gilmore, and Doris M. Coch- 
ran, Vol. 8 of Smithsonian Scientific Se- 
ries; The Complete Aquarium Book, by 
W. T. Innes; Field Book of Ponds and 
Streams, by Ann H. Morgan; A History of 
Fishes, by J. R. Norman; Nature by Sea- 
side and Wayside, by Mary G. Phillips 
and Julia M. Wright, Book 3, Plants and 
Animals; Our Great Outdoors: Reptiles, 
Amphibians and Fishes, by C. W. G. 
Eifrig; Young Folks' Book of Fishes, by 
Ida M. Mellen. See also Bibliography. 


Once upon a time, if stories are true, 
there lived a king called Midas, whose 
touch turned everything to gold. When- 
ever I see goldfish, I wonder if, perhaps, 
King Midas were not a Chinese and if he 
perchance did not handle some of the lit- 
tle fish in Orient streams. But common 
man has learned a magic as wonderful as 
that of King Midas, although it does not 

act so immediately, for it is through his 
agency in selecting and breeding that 
we have gained these exquisite fish for 
our aquaria. In the streams of China the 
goldfish, which were the ancestors of these 
effulgent creatures, wore safe green colors 
like the shiners in our brooks; and if any 
goldfish escape from our fountains and 
run wild, their progeny return to their 



native olive-green color. There are many 
of such dull-colored goldfish in the lakes 
and rivers of our country. It is almost in- 
conceivable that one of the brilliant-col- 
ored fishes, if it chanced to escape into our 
ponds ? should escape the fate of being 
eaten by some larger fish attracted by such 
glittering bait. 

The goldfish, as we see it in the aquar- 
ium, is brilliant orange above and pale 
lemon-yellow below; there are many speci- 
mens that are adorned with black patches. 
And as if this fish were bound to imitate 
the precious metals, there are individuals 
which are silver instead of gold; they are 
oxidized silver above and polished silver 
below. The goldfish are closely related 
to the carp and can live in waters that 
are stale. If water plants and scavengers, 
such as water snails, are kept in the 
aquarium, the water does not become foul. 
The water, then, need not be changed; but 
unless the aquarium is covered, it will be 
necessary to add water to replace that 
which evaporates. Goldfish should not be 

fed too lavishly. An inch square of one of 
the sheets of prepared fish food we have 
found a fair daily ration for five medium 
sized fish; these fish are more likely to 

"DorsaT fi 

Helen F. Hill 

Fish in a hatchery pond 

Goldfish with parts named 

die from overfeeding than from starving. 
Goldfish are naturally long-lived; Miss Ada 
Georgia kept them until seven years old 
in a school aquarium; and there is on rec- 
ord one goldfish that lived nine years. 

Too often the wonderful common 
things are never noticed because of their 
commonness; and there is no better in- 
stance of this than the form and move- 
ments of a fish. It is an animal in many 
ways similar to animals that live on land; 
but its form and structure are such that it 
is perfectly adapted to live in water all 
its life; there are none of the true fishes 
which live portions of their lives on land 
as do the frogs. The first peculiarity of the 
fish is its shape. Looked at from above, the 
broader part of the body is near the front 
end, which is rounded or pointed so as to 
cut the water readily. The long, narrow, 
hind portion of the body with the tail acts 
as a propeller in the sense that it pushes 
the body forward; this movement is not 
at all similar to the action of an airplane 
propeller or a ship's screw. Seen from the 
side, the body is a smooth, graceful oval 
and this form is especially adapted to 
move through the water swiftly, as can 
be demonstrated to the pupil by cutting a 
model of the fish from wood and trying 
to move it through the water sidewise. 

Normally, the fish has seven fins, one 
along the back called the dorsal, one at 
the end of the tail called the tail or caudal 
fin, one beneath the rear end of the body 
called the anal ? a pair on the lower side 


N. Y. State Conservation Dept. 

Large-mouthed black bass 
Aplites salmoides 

of the body called the ventrals, and a pair 
just back of the gill openings called the 
pectorals. All these fins play their own 
parts in the movements of the fish. The 
dorsal fin is usually higher in front than 
behind and can be lifted or shut down like 
a fan. This fin when it is lifted gives the 
fish greater height and it can be twisted 
to one side or the other and thus be made 
a factor in steering. The anal fin on the 
lower side acts in a similar manner. The 
tail fin is the propeller and sends the body 
forward by pressing backward on the 
water, first on one side and then on the 
other, being used like a scull. The tail 
fin varies in shape very much in different 
species. In the goldfish it is fanlike, with 
a deeply notched hind edge, but in some 
it is rounded or square. The paired fins 
correspond anatomically to our arms and 
legs, the pectorals representing the arms, 
the ventrals the legs. 

Fishes 7 eyes have no eyelid but the eye- 
ball is movable, and this often gives the 
impression that the fish winks. Fishes are 
necessarily nearsighted since the lens of 
the eye has to be spherical in order to see 
in the water. The sense of smell is located 
in a little sac to which the nostril leads; 
the nostrils are small and often partitioned 
and may be seen on either side of the 
snout. The nostrils of a fish have no con- 
nection whatever with breathing. 

The tongue of the fish is very bony or 
gristly and immovable. Very little sense 
of taste is developed in it. The shape, 
number, and position of the teeth vary ac- 
cording to the food habits of the fish. The 
commonest teeth are fine, sharp, and short 
and are arranged in pads, as seen in the 
bullhead. Some fish have blunt teeth suit- 
able for crushing shells. Some herbivorous 
fishes have sharp teeth with serrated edges, 
while those living upon crabs and snails 
have incisor-like teeth. In some species we 
find several types of teeth; in others, such 
as goldfish or minnows in general, the 
teeth may be entirely absent. The teeth 
are borne not only on the jaws but also 
in the roof of the mouth, on the tongue, 
and in the throat. 

The ear of the fish has neither outside 
form nor opening and is very imperfect 
in comparison with that of man. Extend- 
ing along the sides of the body from head 
to tail is a line of modified scales contain- 
ing small tubes connecting with nerves; 

N. Y. State Conservation Dept. 

A chain pickerel 
Esox niger 

N. Y. State Conservation Dept. 

A yellow perch 
Perca flavescens 

this is called the lateral line and it is be- 
lieved that it is in some way connected 
with the fish's senses, perhaps with the 
sense of hearing. 

The covering of fishes varies: most fish, 
such as the yellow perch and black bass, 
are sheathed in an armor of scales; others, 
such as the bullhead, have only a smooth 
skin. All fish are covered with a slimy 
substance which somewhat reduces fric- 
tion as they swim through the water. 

In order to understand how the fish 
breathes we must examine its gills. In 
front, just above the entrance to the gullet, 
are several bony ridges which bear two 
rows of pinkish fringes; these are the gill 
arches and the fringes are the gills. The 


gills are filled with tiny bloodvessels, and 
as the water passes over them, the impu- 
rities of the blood pass out through the 
thin skin of the gills and the life-giving 
oxygen passes in. Since most fish cannot 
make use of air unless it is dissolved in 
water, it is very important that the water 
in the aquarium provide a sufficient sur- 
face area to enable the fish to secure air. 
The gill arches also bear a series of bony 
processes called gill-rakers. Their function 
is to prevent the escape of food through 
the gills while it is being swallowed, and 
they vary in size according to the food 
habits of the fish. We note that the fish in 
the aquarium constantly opens and closes 
the mouth; this action draws the water 
into the throat and forces it out over the 
gills and through the gill openings; this, 
then, is the act of breathing. 

for Amateurs, by A. E. Hodge and Arthur 
Derham; Goldfish, Their Care in Small 
Aquaria and Ponds, by E. C. Fearnow 
(Document 980, Bureau of Fisheries, 
Washington, D. C.); The Pet Book, by 
Anna B. Comstock; also, readings on page 



LEADING THOUGHT A fish lives in the 
water where it must breathe, move, and 
find its food. The water world is quite 
different from the air world and the fish 
have developed forms, senses, and habits 
which fit them for life in the water. 

METHOD The goldfish is used as a 
subject for this lesson because it is so 
conveniently kept where the children may 
see it. However, a shiner or other minnow 
would do as well. 

Before the pupils begin the study, place 
the diagram shown on p. 145 on the black- 
board, with all the parts labeled; thus 
the pupils will be able to learn the parts 
of the fish by consulting it ? and not be 
compelled to commit them to memory 
arbitrarily. It would be well to associate 
the goldfish with a geography lesson on 

OBSERVATIONS i . Where do fish live? 


2. What is the shape of a fish when 
seen from above? Where is the widest 
part? What is its shape seen from the 
side? Think if you can in how many ways 
the shape of the fish is adapted for mov- 
ing swiftly through the water. 

3. How many fins has the fish? Make 
a sketch of the goldfish with all its fins 
and name them from the diagram on the 

4. How many fins are there in all? Four 
of these fins are in pairs; where are they 
situated? What are they called? Which 
pair corresponds to our arms? Which to 
our legs? 

5. Describe the pectoral fins. How are 
they used? Are they kept constantly mov- 
ing? Do they move together or alternately? 
How are they used when the fish swims 

6. How are the ventral fins used? How 
do they assist the fish when swimming? 

7. Observe a dorsal fin and an anal fin. 
How are these used when the fish is 

8. With what fin does the fish push 
itself through the water? Make a sketch 
of the tail. Note if it is square, rounded, 
or notched at the end. 

9. Watch the goldfish swim and de- 
scribe the action of all the fins while it 
is in motion. In what position are the fins 
when the fish is at rest? 

10. What is the nature of the covering 
of the fish? Are the scales large or small? 
In what direction do they seem to over- 
lap? Of what use to the fish is this scaly 

11. Can you see a line which extends 
from the upper part of the gill opening, 
along the side to the tail? This is called 
the lateral line. Do you think it is of any 
use to the fish? 

12. Note carefully the eyes of the fish. 
Describe the pupil and the iris. Are the 
eyes placed so that the fish can see in 
all directions? Can they be moved so as 
to see better in any direction? Does the 
fish wink? Has it any eyelids? Do you 
know why fish are nearsighted? 

13. Can you see the nostrils? Is there 
a little wartlike projection connected 


with the nostril? Do you think fishes 
breathe through their nostrils? 

14. Describe the mouth of the fish. 
Does it open upward, downward, or di- 
rectly in front? What sort of teeth have 
fish? How does the fish catch its prey? 
Does the lower or upper jaw move in the 
process of eating? 

15. Is the mouth kept always in mo- 
tion? Do you think the fish is swallowing 
water all the time? Do you know why it 
does this? Can you see a wide opening 
along the sides of the head behind the 
gill cover? Does the gill cover move with 
the movement of the mouth? How does a 
fish breathe? 

16. What are the colors of the goldfish 
above and below? What would happen to 
our beautiful goldfish if they were put 
in a brook with other fish? Why could 
they not hide? Do you know what 
happens to the colors of the goldfish 
when they run wild in our streams and 

17. Can you find in books or cyclo- 
pedias where the goldfish came from? Are 
they gold and silver in color in the streams 
where they are native? Do you think that 
they had originally the long, slender, swal- 
low-tails which we see sometimes in gold- 
fish? How have the beautiful colors and 
graceful forms of the gold and silver fishes 
been developed? 

I have my world, and so have you, 
A tiny universe for two, 

A bubble by the artist blown, 
Scarcely more fragile than our own, 
Where you have all a whale could wish, 
Happy as Eden's primal fish. 
Manna is dropt you thrice a day 
From some land heaven not far away, 
And still you snatch its softening crumbs, 
Nor, more than we, think whence it 


No toil seems yours but to explore 
Your cloistered realm from shore to shore; 
Sometimes you trace its limits round, 
Sometimes its limpid depths you sound, 
Or hover motionless midway, 
Lilce gold-red clouds at set of day; 
Erelong you whirl with sudden whim 
Ofi to your globe's most distant rim, 
Where, greatened by the watery lens, 
Methinlcs no dragon of the fens 
Flashed huger scales against the sky, 
Roused by Sir Bevis or Sir Guy; 
And the one eye that meets my view, 
Lidless and strangely largening, too, 
Like that of conscience in the dark, 
Seems to make me its single mark. 
What a benignant lot is yours 
That have an own All-out-of-doors, 
No words to spell, no sums to do, 
No Nepos and no parlyvool 
How happy you, without a thought 
Of such cross things as Must and 


I too the happiest of boys 
To see and share your golden joys! 



The bull-head does usually dwell and hide himself in holes or amongst stones in 
clear water; and in very hot days will lie a long time very still and sun himself and will 
be easy to be seen on any flat stone or gravel; at which time he will suffer an angler to 
put a hook baited with a small worm very near into his mouth; and lie never refuses 
to bite, nor indeed, to be caught with the worst of anglers. ISAAK WALTON 

When one looks a bullhead in the face 
one is glad that it is not a real bull, for 
its barbels give it an appearance quite fit 
for the making of a nightmare; and yet 
from the standpoint of the bullhead, how 

truly beautiful those fleshy feelers are! 
For without them how could it feel its 
way about searching for food in the mud? 
Two of these barbels stand straight up; 
the two largest ones stand out on each 



Common bullhead 
Ameiurus nebulosus 

State of New York Conservation Department 

side of the mouth, and two pairs of short 
ones adorn the lower lip, the smallest pair 
at the middle. 

As the fish moves about, it is easy to 
see that the large barbels at the side of the 
mouth are of the greatest use; it keeps 
them in a constantly advancing move- 
ment, feeling of everything it meets. The 
upper ones stand straight up, keeping 
watch for whatever news there may be 
from above; the two lower ones spread 
apart and follow rather than precede the 
fish, seeming to test what lies below. The 
upper and lower pairs seem to test things 
as they are, while the large side pair deal 
with what is going to be. The broad 
mouth seems to be formed for taking in 
all things eatable, for the bullhead lives 
on almost anything alive or dead that it 
discovers as it noses about in the mud. 
Nevertheless, it has its notions about its 
food, for I have repeatedly seen one draw 
material into its mouth through its breath- 
ing motion and then spew it out with a 
vehemence one would hardly expect from 
such a phlegmatic fish. 

Although it has feelers which are very 
efficient, it also has perfectly good eyes 
which it uses to excellent purpose; note 
how promptly it moves to the other side 
of the aquarium when we are trying to 
study it. The eyes are not large; the pupils 
are black and oval and are rimmed with 
a narrow band of shiny pale yellow. The 
eyes are prominent so that when moved 
backward and forward they gain a view 

of the enemy in the rear or at the front 
while the head is motionless. It seems 
strange to see such a pair of pale yellow, 
almost white eyes in such a dark body. 

The general shape of the front part of 
the body is flat, in fact, it is shaped de- 
cidedly like a tadpole; this shape is espe- 
cially fitted for groping about muddy 

bottoms. The flat effect of the body is em- 
phasized by the gill covers opening below 
rather than at the sides, every pulsation 
widening the broad neck. The pectoral 
fins also open out on the same plane as 
the body, although they can be turned 
at an angle if necessary; they are thick and 
fleshy and the sharp tips of their spines 
offer punishment to whosoever touches 
them. The dorsal fin is far forward and 
not large; it is usually raised at a threat- 
ening angle. 

Near the tail there is a little fleshy dor- 
sal fin which stands in line with the body, 
and one wonders what is its special use, 
The ventral fins are small. The anal fin is 
far back and rather strong, and this with 



the long ? strong tail gives the fish good 
motor power; it can swim very rapidly if 
occasion requires. 

The bullhead is mud-colored and has 
no scales. The skin is very thick and leath- 
ery so that it is always removed before the 
fish is cooked. The bullhead burrows deep 
into the mud in the fall and remains there 
all winter; when the spring freshets come, 
it emerges and is hungry for fresh meat. 

Bullhead guarding his nest 

The family life of the bullheads and 
other catfishes seems to be quite ideal. 
Dr. Theodore Gill tells us that bullheads 
make their nests by removing stones and 
gravel from a more or less irregularly circu- 
lar area in shallow water, and on sandy or 
gravelly ground. The nest is somewhat 
excavated, both parents removing the peb- 
bles by sucking them into the mouth and 
carrying them off for some distance. After 
the eggs are laid, the male watches over 
and guards the nest and seems to have 
great family responsibilities. He is the 
more active of the two in stirring and mix- 
ing^ the young fry after they are hatched. 
Smith and Harron describe the process 
thus: "With their chins on the bottom, 
the old fish brush the corners where the 
fry were banked, and with the barbels all 
directed forward, and flexed where they 
touch the bottom, thoroughly agitate the 
mass of fry, bringing the deepest individu- 
als to the surface. This act is usually re- 
peated several times in quick succession. 

" The nests are usually made beneath 
logs or other protecting objects and in 
shallow water. The paternal care is con- 
tinued for many days after the birth of the 
young. At first these may be crowded to- 
gether in a dense mass, but as time passes 
they disperse more and more and spread 
around the father. Frequently, especially 
when the old one is feeding, some one 
or more of the young are taken into the 
mouth, but they are instinctively sepa- 
rated from the food and spit out. At last 
the young swarm venture farther from 
their birthplace, or perhaps they are led 
away by their parents/' 

by Raymond T. Fuller; Backyard Explora- 
tion, by Paul G. Howes; The Pet Book, 
by Anna B. Comstock; The Pond Book, 
by Walter P. Porter and Einar A. Hansen; 
also, readings on page 144. 



lives in mud bottoms of streams and 
ponds and is particularly adapted for life 
in such locations. 

METHOD A small bullhead may be 
placed in a small aquarium jar. At first let 
the water be clear and add a little pond 
weed so as to observe the natural tendency 
of the fish to hide. Later add mud and 
gravel to the aquarium and note the be- 
havior of the fish. 

OBSERVATIONS i. What at the first 
glance distinguishes the bullhead from 
other fish? Describe these strange " whis- 
kers" growing about the mouth; how 
many are there and where are they situ- 
ated? Which are the longest pair? Can 
the fish move them in any direction at 

2. Where do we find bullheads? On 
what do they feed? Would their eyes help 
them to find their food in the mud? How 
do they find it? 

3. Explain, if you can, why the bull- 
head has barbels, or feelers, while the 
trout and bass have none. 

4. What is the shape of the mouth? 



5. What is the general shape of the 
body? What is its color? Has it any scales? 

6. Why should the bullhead be so flat 
horizontally while the sunfish is so flat 
in the opposite direction? 

7. Describe the bullhead's eyes. Are 
they large? What is their color? Where 
are they placed? 

8. Describe the dorsal fin ? giving its 
comparative size and position. Do you see 
another dorsal fin? Where is this peculiar 
fin and how does it differ from all of the 

9. Describe the tail fin. Does it seem 
long and strong? Is the bullhead a good 

10. Is the anal fin large or small as com- 
pared with that of the goldfish? 

11. How do the pectoral fins move as 
compared with those of the sunfish? Why 
is the position of the pectoral and dorsal 
fins of benefit to this fish? 

12. How does the bullhead inflict 
wounds when it is handled? Tell how 
these spines may protect it from its natural 

13. When is the best season for fishing 
for bullheads? Does the place where they 
are found affect the flavor of their flesh? 

14. What is the spawning season? Do 
you know about the nests the bullheads 
build and the care they give their young? 

15. Write an essay on the nest-making 
habits of the bullheads and the care given 
the young by the parents. 

And what fish will the natural boy nat- 
urally talce? In America, there is but one 
fish which enters fully into the spirit of 
the occasion. It is a fish of many species 
according to the part of the country, and 
of as many sizes as there are sizes of boys. 
This fish is the horned pout, and all the 
rest of the species of Ameiums. Horned 
pout is its Boston name. Bullhead is good 
enough for New York; and foi the rest of 
the country, big and little, all the fishes 

of this tribe are called catfish. A catfish is 
a jolly blundering sort of a fish, a regular 
Falstaff of the ponds. It has a fat /owl, 
and a fat belly, which it is always trying 
to fill. Smooth and sleek, its skin is almost 
human in its delicacy. It wears a long 
mustache, with scattering whiskers of 
other sort. Meanwhile it always goes 
armed with a sword, three swords, and 
these it has always on hand, always ready 
for a struggle on land as well as in the 
water. The small boy often gets badly 
stuck on these poisoned daggers, but, as 
the fish knows how to set them by a 
muscular twist, the small boy learns how, 
by a like untwist, he may unset and leave 
them harmless. 

The catfish lives in sluggish waters. It 
loves the millpond best of all, and it has 
no foolish dread of hooks when it goes 
forth to bite. Its mouth is wide. It swal- 
lows the hook, and very soon it is in the 
air, its white throat gasping in the untried 
element. Soon it joins its fellows on the 
forked stick, and even then, uncomfort- 
able as it may find its new relations, it 
never loses sight of the humor of the oc- 
casion. Its large head and expansive fore- 
head betoken a large mind. It is the only 
fish whose brain contains a Sylvian fissure, 
a piling up of /issue consequent on the 
abundance of gray matter. So it under- 
stands and makes no complaint. After it 
has dried in the sun for an hour, pour a 
little water over its gills, and it will wag 
its tail, and squeak with gratitude. And 
the best of all is, there are horned pouts 
enough to go around. 

The female horned pout lays thousands 
of eggs, and when these hatch, she goes 
about near the shore with her school of 
little fishes, like a hen with myriad chicks. 
She should be respected and let alone, 
for on her success in rearing this breed of 
" bullying little rangers " depends the 
sport of the small boy of the future. 



State of New York Conservation Department 

The common sucker 
Catostomus commersonnii 


He who loves to peer down into the 
depths of still waters, often sees upon the 
sandy, muddy, or rocky bottom several 
long, wedge-shaped sticks lying at various 
angles one to another. But if he thrust 
down a real stick, behold, these inert, 
water-logged sticks move off deftly! And 
then he knows that they are suckers. He 
may drop a hook baited with a worm in 
front of the nose of one, and if he waits 
long enough before he pulls up he may 
catch this fish, not by its gills but by the 
pit of its stomach; for it not only swallows 
the hook completely but tries to digest it 
dong with the worm. Its food is made up 
of soft-bodied insects and other small 
water creatures; it is also a mud eater and 
manages to make a digestive selection 
from the organic material of silt. For this 
latter reason it is not a desirable food fish, 
although its flesh varies in flavor with the 
locality where it is found. The suckers 
taken when the waters are cold, are tasty 
but somewhat more bony than most fishes, 
while those taken from warm waters are 
very inferior in flavor and often unpalat- 

Seen from above, the sucker is wedge- 
shaped, being widest at the eyes; seen from 
the side it has a flat lower surface and 
an ungracefully rounded contour above, 
which tapers only slightly toward the tail. 

The profile of the face gives the impres- 
sion of a Roman nose. The young speci- 
mens have an irregular scale-mosaic pat- 
tern of olive-green blotches on a paler 
ground color, while the old ones are quite 
brown above and on the sides. The suck- 
ers differ from most other fishes in having 
the markings of the back extend down 
the sides almost to the belly. This is a 
help in concealing the fish, since its sides 
show from above quite as distinctly as its 
back because of its peculiar form. The 
scales are rather large and are noticeably 
larger behind than in the region of the 
head. Like other fish it is white below. 

The dorsal fin is placed about midway 
the length of the fish as measured from 
nose to tail. The tail is long and strong 
and deeply notched; the anal fin extends 
back to where the tail begins. The ventral 
fins are small and are directly opposite the 
hind half of the dorsal fin. The pectorals 
are not large but are strong and are placed 
low down. The sucker has not a lavish 
equipment of fins, but its tail is strong 
and it can swim swiftly; it is also very ex- 
citable; in its efforts to escape, it will jump 
from the aquarium more successfully than 
any other fish. When resting on the bot- 
tom, it is supported by its extended pec- 
toral and ventral fins, which are strong al- 
though not large. 


L 53 

The eyes are fairly large but the iris is 
not shiny; they are placed so that the fish 
can easily see above it as well as at the 
sides; the eyes move so as to look up or 
down and are very well adapted to serve 
a fish that lives upon the bottom. The 
nostrils are divided, the partition project- 
ing until it seems a tubercle on the face. 
The mouth opens below and looks like 
the puckered opening of a bag. The lips 
are thick but are very sensitive; it is by 
projecting these lips, in a way that re- 
minds one of a very short elephant's 
trunk, that it is enabled to reach and find 
its food in the mud or gravel; so al- 
though the sucker's mouth is not a beauti- 
ful feature, it is doubly useful. The sucker 
has the habit of remaining motionless for 
long periods of time. It breathes very 
slowly and appears sluggish; it never seizes 
its food with any spirit but simply slowly 
engulfs it; and for this reason it is consid- 
ered poor game. It is only in the spring 
when they may be speared through the ice 
that there is any fun in catching suckers; 
it is at this season of the year that they 
move upstream to shallow riffles to 
spawn. Even so lowly a creature as the 
sucker seems to respond to influences of 
the springtime, for at that period the 
male has a faint rosy stripe along his sides. 
In the winter these fish retire to the 
depths of the rivers or ponds. 

There are many species of suckers and 
they vary in size from six inches to three 
feet in length. They inhabit all sorts of 
waters, but they do not like a strong cur- 
rent and are, therefore, found in still 
pools. The common sucker (Catostomus 
commersonii), which is the subject of this 
lesson, sometimes attains the length of 
twenty-two inches and the weight of five 
pounds. The ones under observation were 
about eight inches long, and proved to be 
the acrobats of the aquarium, since they 
were likely at any moment to jump out; 
several times I found one on the floor. 

Brook, by Raymond T. Fuller; Backyard 
Exploration, by Paul G. Howes; also, read- 
ings on page 144. 


LEADING THOUGHT The sucker is es- 
pecially adapted by shape for lying on the 
bottom of ponds under still water wheie 
its food is abundant. 

METHOD If still-water pools along 
rivers or lakesides are accessible, it is far 
more interesting to study a sucker in its 
native haunts, as an introduction to the 
study of its form and colors when it is in 
the aquarium. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Where do you find 
suckers? How do you catch them? Do 
they take the hook' quickly? What is the 
natural food of the sucker? 

2. What is the shape of this fish's body 
when seen from above? From the side? 
What is the color above? On the sides? 
Below? Does the sucker differ from most 
other fishes in the coloring along its sides? 
What is the reason for this? What do 
suckers look like on the bottom of the 
pond? Are they easily seen? 

3. Describe or sketch a sucker, showing 
the position, size, and shape of the fins 
and tail. Are its scales large or small? How- 
does it use its fins when at rest? When 
moving? Is it a strong swimmer? Is it a 
high jumper? 

4. Describe the eyes; how are they espe- 
cially adapted in position and in move- 
ment to the needs of a fish that lives on 
the bottom of streams and ponds? 

5. Note the nostrils. Are they used for 

6. Where is the mouth of the sucker 
situated? What is its form? How is it 
adapted to get food from the bottom of 
the stream and from crevices in the rocks? 

7. Tell all you know about the habits of 
the suckers. When do you see them first 
in the spring? Where do they spend the 
winter? Where do they go to spawn? How 
large is the largest one you have ever 
seen? Why is their flesh sometimes con- 
sidered poor in quality as food? Is there a 
difference in the flavor of their flesh de- 
pending upon the temperature of the 
water in which they live? 


State of New York Conservation Department 

Common shiner or redfin 
Notropis cornutus 


This is a. noteworthy and characteristic lineament, or cipher ? or hieroglyphic, or 
type of spring. You look into some clear, sandy bottomed brook where it spreads into 
a deeper bay, yet flowing cold from ice and snow not far off, and see indistinctly poised 
over the sand on invisible fins, the outlines of the shiner, scarcely to be distinguished 
from the sands behind it as if it were transparent. THOREAXJ 

There are many species of shiners and 
it is by no means easy to recognize them 
or to distinguish them from chub, dace, 
and other minnows, since all these belong 
to one family; they all have the same ar- 
rangement of fins and live in the same 
water; and the plan of this lesson can with 
few changes be applied to any of them. 

Never were seen more exquisite colors 
than shimmer along the sides of the com- 
mon shiner (Notropis cornutus) . It is 
pale olive-green above, just a sunny brook- 
color; this is bordered at the sides by a line 
of iridescent blue-purple, while the shin- 
ing silver scales on the sides below flash 
and glimmer with the changing hues of 
the rainbow. Most of the other minnows 
are darker than the shiners. 

The body of the shiner is ideal for slip- 
ping through the water. Seen from above 
it is a narrow wedge, rounded in front and 
tapering to a point behind; from the side, 
it is long, oval, lance-shaped. The scales 
are large and beautiful, and the lateral line 
looks like a series of dots embroidered at 
the center of the diamond-shaped scales. 

The dorsal fin is placed just back of the 
center of the body and is not very large; 
it is composed of soft rays, the first two 
being stiff and unbranched. The tail is 
long, large, graceful and deeply notched. 
The anal fin is almost as large as the dor- 
sal. The ventral pair is placed on the lower 
side, opposite the dorsal fin; the pectorals 
are set at the lower margin of the body, 
just behind the gill openings. The shiner 
and its relatives use the pectoral fins to 
aid in swimming, and keep them con- 
stantly in motion when moving through 
the water. The ventrals are moved only 
now and then and evidently help in keep- 
ing the balance. When the fish moves 
rapidly forward, the dorsal fin is raised so 
that its front edge stands at right angles to 
the body and the ventral and anal fins are 
expanded to their fullest extent. But when 
the fish is lounging, the dorsal, anal, and 
ventral fins are more or less closed, al- 
though the tip of the dorsal fin swings 
with every movement of the fish. 

The eyes are large, the pupils being 
very large and black; the iris is pale yellow 



and shining; the whole eye is capable of 4. Describe or sketch the fish, showing 

much movement forward and back. The 
nostril is divided by a little projecting par- 
tition which looks like a tubercle. The 
mouth is at the front of the head; to see 
the capabilities of this mouth, watch the 
shiner yawn, if the water of the aquarium 
becomes stale. Poor fellow! He yawns just 
as we do in the effort to get more oxygen. 

The shiners are essentially brook fish 
although they may be found in larger 
bodies of water. They lead a precarious 
existence, for the larger fish eat them in all 
their stages. They hold their own only by 
laying countless numbers of eggs. They 
feed chiefly on water insects, algse, and 
fish eggs, including their own. They are 
pretty and graceful little creatures and 
may be seen swimming up the current in 
the middle of the brook. They often oc- 
cur in schools or flocks, especially when 

ploration, by Paul G. Howes; The Pet 
Boole, by Anna B. Comstock; also, read- 
ings on page 144. 


LEADING THOUGHT The shiners are 
among the most common of the little fish 
in our small streams. They are beautiful 
in form and play an important part in the 
life of our streams. 

METHOD Place in the aquarium shin- 
ers and as many as possible of the other 
species of small fish found in our creeks 
and brooks. The aquarium should stand 
where the pupils may see it often. The fol- 
lowing questions may be asked, giving the 
children time for the work of observation. 

OBSERVATIONS i . What is the shape 
of the shiner's body when seen from 
above? When seen from the side? Do you 
think that its shape fits it for moving rap- 
idly through the water? 

2. What is the coloring above? On the 
sides? Below? 

3. Are the scales large and distinct, or 
very small? Can you see the lateral line? 
Where are the tiny holes which make this 
line placed in the scales? 

position, relative size, and shape of all the 
fins and the tail. 

5. Describe the use and movements of 
each of the fins when the fish is swim- 

6. Describe the eyes. Do they move? 

7. Describe the nostrils. Do you think 
each one is double? 

8. Does the mouth open upward, down- 
ward, or forward? Have you ever seen the 
shiner yawn? Why does it yawn? Why do 
you yawn? 

9. Where do you find the shiners liv- 
ing? Do they haunt the middle of the 
stream or the edges? Do you ever see them 
in flocks or schools? 


How silent comes the water round that 


Not the minutest whisper does it send 
To the o'er-hanging sallows; blades of grass 
Slowly across the chequered shadows pass, 
Why, you might read two sonnets, ere 

they reach 
To where the hurrying freshnesses aye 


A natural sermon o'er their pebbly beds; 
Where swarms of minnows show their lit- 
tle heads, 
Staying their wavy bodies 'gainst the 


To taste the luxury of sunny beams 
Tempered with coolness. How they ever 

With their own sweet delight, and ever 


Their silver bellies on the pebbly sand/ 
If you but scantily hold out the hand, 
That very instant not one will remain; 
But turn your eye, and there they are 

The ripples seem right glad to reach those 

And cool themselves among the em'rald 

The while they cool themselves, they 

freshness give, 
And moisture, that the bowery green may 



i 5 6 


State of New York Conservation Department 

The brook trout 
Salvelinus f ontinalis 


Up and down the brook I ran, where beneath the banks so steep, 
Lie the spotted trout asleep. WHITTIER 

But they were probably not asleep, as 
Mr. Whittier might have observed if he 
had cast a fly near one of them. There is 
in the very haunts of the trout a sugges- 
tion of where it gets its vigor and wariness : 
the cold, clear streams where the water 
is pure; brooks that wind in and out over 
rocky and pebbly beds, here shaded by 
trees and there dashing through the open 
it makes us feel vigorous even to think 
of such streams. Under the overhanging 
bank or in the shade of some fallen log 
or shelving rock, the brook trout hides 
where he may see all that goes on in the 
world above and around him without be- 
ing himself seen. Woe to the unfortu- 
nate insect that falls upon the surface of 
the water in his vicinity or even flies low 
over it, for the trout will easily jump far 
out of the water to seize its prey It is 
this habit of taking the insect upon and 
above the water's surface which has made 
trout fly-fishing the sport that it is. Man's 
ingenuity is fairly matched against the 
trout's cunning in this contest. I know of 
one old trout that has kept fishermen in 
the region around on the qui vive for 
years; and up to date he is still alive, mak- 
ing a dash now and then at a tempting 

bait, showing himself enough to tantalize 
his would-be captors with his splendid 
size, but always retiring at the sight of the 

The brook trout varies much in color, 
depending upon the soil and the rocks of 
the streams in which it lives. Its back is 
marbled with dark olive or black, mak- 
ing it just the color of shaded water. This 
marbled coloration also marks the dorsal 
and the tail fins. The sides, which vary 
much in color, are marked with beautiful 
vermilion spots, each placed in the center 
of a larger, bluish spot. In some instances 
the lower surface is reddish, in others 
whitish. All the fins on the lower side 
of the body have the front edges creamy 
or yellowish white, with a darker streak 

The trout's head is quite large and 
somewhat blunt. The large eye is a little 
in front of the middle of the head. The 
dorsal fin is at about the middle of the 
body, and when raised is squarish in out- 
line. Behind the dorsal fin and near the 
tail is the little, fleshy adipose fin, so called 
because its tissue is more or less adipose 
in nature. The tail is fan-shaped, slightly 
notched at the end and is large and strong. 


The anal fin is rather Iarge ? being shaped 
much like the dorsal fin, only slightly 
smaller. The ventral fins are directly be- 
low the dorsal fin and a little behind its 
middle. The pectorals are low down, being 
below and just behind the gill arches. 

In size the brook trout may reach four- 
teen inches, but the majority of those 
caught are seldom longer than seven or 
eight inches. It does not flourish in water 
which is warmer than 70 Fahrenheit, 
and prefers a temperature of about 50 
Fahrenheit. It must have the pure water 
of mountain streams and cannot endure 
the water of rivers which is polluted by 
mills or the refuse of cities. Where it has 
access to streams that flow into the ocean, 
it forms the salt-water habit, going out 
to sea and remaining there during the 
winter. Such specimens become very 

The trout can lay eggs when about six 
inches in length. The eggs are laid from 
September until late November in most 
parts of the United States. One small 
mother trout lays from 400 to 600 eggs, 
but the large-sized ones lay more. The pe- 
riod of hatching depends upon the tem- 
perature of the water. In depositing their 
eggs the trout seek water with a gravelly 
bottom, often where some spring enters 
into a stream. The nest is shaped by the 
tail of the fish, the larger stones being car- 
ried away in the mouth. To make the pre- 

Verne Morton 

When resting on a stream bed trout face into 
the current 

Where the trout live 

cious eggs secure they are covered with 

Strict laws have been enacted by almost 
all of our states to protect the brook trout 
and preserve it in our streams. While it is 
true that brook trout spawn when five to 
six inches in length, the legal size in most 
states is six to seven inches; this gives 
them a chance to spawn at least about 
once before being caught. It is the duty of 
every decent citizen to abide by these laws 
and to see to it that his neighbors observe 
them. The teacher cannot emphasize 
enough to the child the moral value 
of being law-abiding. There should be in 
every school in the Union children's 
clubs which should have for their pur- 
pose civic honesty and the enforcement 
of laws which affect the city, village, or 

Almost any stream with suitable water 
may be stocked with trout from the na- 
tional or the state hatcheries, but what 
is the use of this expense if the game 
laws are not observed and these fish are 
caught before they reach maturity, as is 
so often the case? 

by Raymond T. Fuller; Backyard Explora- 

i 5 8 


tion, by Paul G. Howes; Mountain Neigh- 
bors, by Edith M. Patch and Carroll L. 
Fenton (Rainbow Trout) ; The Watchers 
of the Trails, by Charles G. D. Roberts; 
also, readings on page 144. 


LEADING THOUGHT The brook trout 
have been exterminated in many streams 
in our country largely because the game 
laws were passed too late to save them; 
and because of misuse of our waters. The 
trout is one of the most cunning and beau- 
tiful of our common fishes and the most 
delicious for food. Many mountain 
streams in our country could be well 
stocked with brook trout. 

METHOD For this lesson secure a 
trout from a fisherman at the opening of 
trout season. In some states, a permit is 
required before a trout may be legally kept 
in captivity, unless it is a legally captured 
specimen and is kept only during fishing 

OBSERVATIONS i. In what streams are 
the brook trout found? Must the water be 
warm or cold? Can the trout live in im- 
pure water? Can it live in salt water? 

2. Do the trout swim about in schools 
or do they live solitary? Where do they 
like to hide? 

3. With what kind of bait are trout 
caught? Why do they afford such excel- 
lent sport for fly-fishing? Can you tell what 
the food of the trout is? 

4. What is the color of the trout above? 
What colors along its sides? What mark- 
ings make the fish so beautiful? What is 
its color below? Has the trout scales? Do 
you see the lateral line? 

5. What is the general shape of the 
brook trout? Describe the shape, position, 
and color of the dorsal fin. Describe the 
little fin behind the dorsal. Why is it un- 
like the other fins? What is the shape of 
the tail fin? Is it rounded, square, or cres- 
cent-shaped across the end? What is the 
position and size of the anal fin compared 
with the dorsal? What are the colors on 
the ventral fins and where are these fins 

placed in relation to the dorsal fin? What 
color are the pectoral fins and how are 
they placed in relation to the gill arches? 

6. Describe the trout's eyes. Do you 
think the trout is keen-sighted? 

7. When and where are the eggs laid? 
Describe how the nest is made. How are 
the eggs covered and protected? 

8. Could a trout live in the streams of 
your neighborhood? Can you get state aid 
in stocking the streams? 

9. What are the game laws concerning 
trout fishing? When is the open season? 
How long must the trout be to be taken 
legally? If you are a good citizen what do 
you do about the game laws? 

10. Write a story telling all you know 
about the wariness, cunning, and strength 
of the brook trout. 


It is well for anglers not to make trout, 
of all fishes, the prime objective of a day's 
sport, as no more uncertain game loves the 
sunlight. Today he is yours for the very 
asking; tomorrow, the most luscious lure 
will not tempt him. One hour he defies 
you, the next, gazes at you from some en- 
sconcement of the fishes, and knows you 
not, as you pass him, casting, by. 

I believe I accumulated some of this 
angling wisdom years ago, in a certain 
trout domain in New England, where 
there were streams and pools, ripples, cas- 
cades and drooping trees; where every- 
thing was fair and promising to the eyes 
for trout; but it required superhuman pa- 
tience to lure them, and many a day I 
scoreda blank. Yet on these very days when 
lures were unavailing, the creel empty 
save for fern leaves, I found they were 
not for naught; that the real fishing day 
was a composite of the weather, the wind, 
even if it was from the east, the splendid 
colors of forest trees, the blue tourmaline 
of the sky that topped the stream amid the 
trees, the flecks of cloud mirrored on 
the surface. The delight of anticipation, 
the casting, the play of the rod, the exer- 
cise of skill, the quick turns in the stream 
opening up new vistas, the little openings 
in the forest, through which were seen dis- 


tant meadows and nodding flowers all 
these went to make up the real trout fish- 
ing, the actual catch being but an incident 
among many delights. 

Just how long one could be content 
with mere scenery in lieu of trout, I am 
not prepared to say; if pushed to the wall, 
I confess that when fishing I prefer trout 
to scenic effects. Still, it is a very imprac- 
ticable and delightful sentiment with 
some truth to it, the moral being that the 
angler should be resourceful, and not be 
entirely cast down on the days when the 
wind is in the east. 

I am aware that this method of angling 

is not in vogue with some, and would be 
deemed fanciful, indeed inane, by many 
more; yet it is based upon a true and 
homely philosophy, not of today, the phi- 
losophy of patience and contentment. 
" How poor are they that have not pa- 
tience/ 7 said Othello. It is well to be con- 
tent with things as we find them, and it is 
well to go a-fishing, and not to catch fish 
alone, but every offering the day has to 
give. This should be an easy matter for the 
angler, as Walton tells us that Angling 
is somewhat like poetry; men are to be 
born so. 


State of New York Conservation Department 

Brook stickleback and nest 
Eucalia inconstans 


This is certainly the most sagacious of 
the Lilliputian vertebrates; scarcely more 
than an inch in length when full-grown, 
it gazes at you with large, keen, shining- 
rimmed eyes, takes your measure and darts 
off with a flirt of the tail that says plainly, 
" Catch me if you can/' The sticklebacks 

are delightful aquarium pets because their 
natural home is in still water sufficiently 
stagnant for algae to grow luxuriously; thus 
we but seldom need to change the water 
in the aquarium, which, however, should 
be well stocked with water plants and have 
gravel at the bottom. 



When the stickleback is not resting, he 
is always going somewhere and he knows 
just where he is going and what he is going 
to do, and earthquakes shall not deter 
him. He is the most dynamic creature in 
all creation, I think, except perhaps the 
dragon fly, and he is so ferocious that if 
he were as large as a shark he would de- 
stroy all other fishes. His ferocity is fright- 
ful to behold as he seizes his prey and 
shakes it as a terrier does a rat. 

Well is this fish named stickleback, for 
along the ridge of its back are sharp, strong 
spines five of them in our tiny brook 
species. These spines may be laid back flat 
or they may be erected stiffly, making an 
efficient saw which does great damage to 
fish many times larger than the stickle- 
back. When we find the minnows in the 
aquarium losing their scales, we may be 
sure they are being raked off by this saw- 
back; and if the shiner or sunfish under- 
takes to make a stickleback meal, there is 
only one way to do it, and that is to catch 
the quarry by the tail, since he is too alert 
to be caught in any other way. But swal- 
lowing a stickleback tail first is a danger- 
ous performance, for the sharp spines rip 
open the throat or stomach of the captor. 
Dr. Jordan says that the sticklebacks of 
the Puget Sound region are called " sal- 
mon killers " and that they well earn the 
name; these fierce midgets unhesitatingly 
attack the salmon, biting off pieces of 
their fins and also destroying their spawn. 

As seen from the side, the stickleback 
is slender and graceful, pointed like an 
arrow at the front end, and with the body 
behind the dorsal fin forming a long and 
slender pedicel to support the beautifully 
rounded tail fin. The dorsal fin is placed 
well back and is triangular in shape; the 
anal fin makes a similar triangle opposite 
it below and has a sharp spine at its front 
edge. The color of the body varies with 
the light; when the stickleback is floating 
among the water weeds, the back is green- 
ish mottled with paler green, but when 
the fish is down on the gravel, it is much 
darker. The lateral line is marked by a 
silver stripe. 

If large eyes count for beauty, then the 

stickleback deserves " the apple," for its 
eyes are not only large but gemlike, with a 
broad iris of golden brown around the 
black pupil. I am convinced that the 
stickleback has a keener vision than most 
fish; it can move its eyes backward and 
forward rapidly and alertly. The mouth 
opens almost upward and is a wicked 
little mouth, in both appearance and 

When swimming, the stickleback darts 
about rapidly, its dorsal and anal fins ex- 
tended, its spines all abristle, and its tail 
lashing the water with strong strokes. 
When the fish wishes to lift itself through 
the water, it seems to depend entirely 
upon its pectoral fins and these are also 
used for balancing. Its favorite position 
is hanging motionless among the pond 
weeds, with the tail and the dorsal and 
ventral fins partially closed; it usually rests 
upon the pectoral fins which are braced 
against some stem; in one case I saw the 
ventrals and pectorals used together to 
clasp a stem and hold the fish in place. In 
moving backward the pectorals do the 
work, with a little beckoning motion of 
the tail occasionally. When resting upon 
the bottom of the aquarium, it closes its 
fins and makes itself quite inconspicuous. 
It can dig with much power, accomplish- 
ing this by a comical auger-like motion; it 
plunges head first into the gravel and then, 
by twisting the body and tail around and 
around, it soon forms a hiding place. 

But it is as house builder and father 
and home protector that the stickleback 
shines. In the early spring he builds him a 
nest made from the fine green algas called 
frog-spittle. This would seem too delicate 
a material for the house construction, but 
he is a clever builder. He fastens his filmy 
walls to some sterns of reed or grass, using 
as a platform a supporting stem; the ones 
which I have especially studied were fas- 
tened to grass stems. The stickleback has 
a little cement plant of his own, supposed 
to be situated in the kidneys, which at this 
time of year secretes the glue for building 
purposes. The glue is waterproof. It is 
spun out in fine threads or in filmy masses 
through an opening near the anal fin. One 



species weights his platform with sand 
which he scoops up from the bottom, but 
I cannot detect that our brook stickleback 
does this. In his case, home is his sphere 
literally, for he builds a spherical house 
about the size of a glass marble, three- 
quarters of an inch in diameter. It is a 
hollow sphere; he cements the inside 
walls so as to hold them back and give 
room, and he finishes his pretty structure 
with a circular door at the side. When fin- 
ished, the nest is like a bubble made of 
threads of down, and yet it holds to- 
gether strongly. 

In the case of the best-known species, 
the male, as soon as he has finished his 
bower to his satisfaction, goes a-wooing; 
he selects some lady stickleback, and in his 
own way tells her of the beautiful nest he 
has made and convinces her of his ability 
to take care of a family. He certainly has 
fetching ways, for he soon conducts her to 
his home. She enters the nest through the 
little circular door, lays her eggs within it, 
and then, being a flighty creature, she 
sheds responsibilities and flits off carefree. 
He follows her into the nest, scatters the 
fertilizing milt over the eggs, and then 
starts off again and rolls his golden eyes on 
some other lady stickleback and invites 
her also to his home. She comes without 
any jealousy because she was not first 
choice; she also enters the nest and 
lays her eggs and then swims off uncon- 
cernedly. Again he enters the nest and 
drops more milt upon the eggs and then 
fares forth again, a still energetic wooer. 
If there was ever a justified polygamist, he 
is one, since it is only the cares and respon- 
sibilities of the home that he desires. He 
only stops wooing when his nest holds as 
many eggs as he feels equal to caring for. 
He now stands on guard by the door, and 
with his winnowing pectoral fins sets up a 
current of water over the eggs; he drives off 
all intruders with the most vicious attacks, 
and keeps off many an enemy simply by a 
display of reckless fury; thus he stands 
guard until the eggs hatch and the tiny 
little sticklebacks come out of the nest 
and float off, attaching themselves by 
their mouths to the pond weeds until they 

become strong enough to scurry around in 
the water. 

Some species arrange two cloors in this 
spherical nest so that a current of water 
can flow through and over the eggs. Mr. 
Eugene Barker, who has made a special 
study of the little brook sticklebacks of the 
Cayuga Basin, has failed to find more than 
one door to their nests. Mr. Barker made a 
most interesting observation on this stick- 
leback's obsession for fatherhood. He 
placed in the aquarium two nests, one of 
which was still guarded by its loyal 
builder, who allowed himself to be caught 

N. Y. State Conservation Dept. 

Horned dace 
Semotilus atromaculatus 

rather than desert his post; the little 
guardian soon discovered the unprotected 
nest and began to move the eggs from it to 
his own, carrying them carefully in his 
mouth. This addition made his own nest 
so full that the eggs persistently crowded 
out of the door, and he spent much of his 
time nudging them back with his snout. 
We saw this stickleback fill his mouth 
with algae from the bottom of the aquar- 
ium and holding himself steady a short 
distance away, apparently blow the algae 
at the nest from a distance of half an 
inch; we wondered if this was his method 
of laying on his building materials before 
he cemented them. 

The eggs of this species are white and 
shining like minute pearls, and seem to be 
fastened together in small packages with 
gelatinous matter. The mating habits of 
this species have not been thoroughly 
studied; therefore, here is an opportunity 
for investigation on the part of the boys 
and girls. The habits of other species of 
sticklebacks have been studied more than 
have those of the brook stickleback. 

ence, by G. S. Craig and Co-authors, 



Book 3, Our Wide, Wide World; The 
Pet Book, by Anna B. Comstock; The 
Pond Book, by Walter P. Porter and Ei- 
nar A. Hansen; also, readings on page 144. 

N. Y. State Conservation Dept. 

A sculpin 
Cottus cognatus 


LEADING THOUGHT The stickleback 
is the smallest of our common fish. It lives 
in stagnant water. The father stickleback 
builds his pretty nest of algas and watches 
it very carefully. 

METHOD To find sticklebacks go to a 
pond of stagnant water which does not 
dry up during the year. If it is partly 
shaded by bushes, so much the better. 
Take a dip net and dip deeply; carefully 
examine all the little fish in the net by 
putting them in a Mason jar of water so 
that you can see what they are like. The 
stickleback is easily distinguished by the 
five spines along its back. If you collect 
these fish as early as the first of May and 
place several of them in the aquarium 
with plenty of the algas known as frog- 
spittle and other water plants they may 
perhaps build a nest for you. They may be 
fed upon bits of meat or liver chopped 
very fine or upon earthworms cut into 
small sections. 

OBSERVATIONS i. How did the stick- 
leback gets its name? How many spines 
has it? Where are they situated? Are they 

always carried erect? How are these spines 
used as weapons? How do they act as a 
means of protection to the stickleback? 

2. Describe or make a sketch showing 
the shape and position of the dorsal, the 
anal, the ventral, and the pectoral fins. 
What is the shape of the tail? What is the 
general shape of the fish? 

3. What is the color of the stickle- 
backs? Is the color always the same? What 
is the color and position of the lateral line? 

4. Describe the eyes. Are they large or 
small? Can they be moved? Do you think 
they can see far? 

5. Describe the mouth. Does it open 
upward, straight ahead, or downward? 

6. When the stickleback is swimming, 
what are the positions and motions of the 
dorsal, anal, tail, and pectoral fins? Can 
you see the ventral pair? Are they ex- 
tended when the fish is swimming? 

7. When resting among the pond weed 
of the aquarium what fins does the stick- 
leback use for keeping afloat? How are the 
other fins held? What fins does it use to 
move backward? Which ones are used 
when it lifts itself from the bottom to the 
top of the aquarium? How are its fins 
placed when it is at rest on the bottom? 

8. Drop a piece of earthworm or some 
liver or fresh meat cut finely into the 
aquarium and describe the action of the 
sticklebacks as they eat it. How large is a 
full-grown stickleback? 

9. In what kind of ponds do we find 
sticklebacks? Do you know how the stick- 
leback nest looks? Of what is it built? 
How is it supported? Is there one door or 
two? Does the father or mother stickle- 
back build the nest? Are the young in the 
nest cared for? At what time is the nest 


This little disc of gay color has won 
many popular names. It is called pump- 
kinseed, tobacco box, and sunfish because 
of its shape, and it is also called bream and 
pondfish. I have always wondered that it 
was not called chieftain also, for when it 

raises its dorsal fin with its saw crest of 
spines, it looks like the headdress of an 
Indian chief; and surely no warrior ever 
had a greater enjoyment in a battle than 
does this indomitable little fish. 
The sunfish lives in the eddies of our 



State of New York Conservation Department 

Sunfish or pumpkinseed 
Eupomotis gibbosus 

clear brooks and ponds. It is a near rela- 
tive of the rock bass and also of the black 
bass and it has, according to its size, just 
as gamy qualities as the latter. I once had 
a sunfish on my line which made rne think 
I had caught a bass and I do not know 
whether I or the mad little pumpkinseed 
was the more disgusted when I discovered 
the truth. I threw him back in the water, 
but his fighting spirit was up and he 
grabbed my hook again within five min- 
utes, which showed that he had more 
courage than wisdom; it would have 
served him right if I had fried him in a 
pan, but I never could make up my mind 
to kill a fish for the sake of one mouthful 
of food. 

Perhaps of all its names, ''pumpkin- 
seed " is the most graphic, for it resembles 
this seed in the outlines of its body when 
seen from the side. Looked at from above, 
it has the shape of a powerful craft with 
smooth, rounded nose and gently swelling 
and tapering sides; it is widest at the eyes 
and this is a canny arrangement, for these 
great eyes turn alertly in every direction; 

and thus placed they are able to discern 
the enemy or the dinner coming from any 

The dorsal fin is a most militant looking 
organ. It consists of ten spines, the hind 
one closely joined to the hind dorsal fin, 
which is supported by the soft rays. The 
three front spines rise successively, one 
above another, and all are united by the 
membrane, the upper edge of which is 
deeply toothed. The hind dorsal fin is 
gracefully rounded and the front and hind 
fin work independently of each other, the 
latter often winnowing the water when 
the former is laid flat. The tail is strong 
and has a notch in the end; the anal fin 
has three spines on its front edge and ten 
soft rays. Each ventral fin also has a spine 
at the front edge and is placed below and 
slightly behind the pectorals. The pecto- 
ral fins, I have often thought, are the most 
exquisite and gauzelike in texture of all 
the fins I have ever seen; they are kept al- 
most constantly in motion and move in 
such graceful flowing undulations that it 
is a joy to look at them. 



The eye of the sunfish is very large 
and quite prominent; the large black pupil 
is surrounded by an iris that has shining 
lavender and bronze in it, but is more or 
less clouded above; the young ones have 
a pale silver iris. The eyes move in every 
direction and are eager and alert in their 
expression. The mouth is at the front of 
the body but it opens upward. The gill 
opening is prolonged backward at the up- 
per corner, making an earlike flap; this, of 
course, has nothing to do with the fish's 
ears, but it is highly ornamental, as it is 

Male sunfish guarding his nest 

greenish-black in color, bordered by irides- 
cent, pale green, with a brilliant orange 
spot on its hind edge. The colors of the 
sunfish are too varied for description and 
too beautiful to reduce to mere words. 
There are dark, dull, greenish or purplish 
cross-bands worked out in patterns of 
scale-mosaic, and between them are bands 
of pale, iridescent green, set with black- 
edged orange spots. But just as we have 
described his colors our sunfish darts off 
and all sorts of shimmering, shining blue, 
green and purple tints play over his body; 
and as he settles down into another corner 
of the aquarium, his colors seem much 
paler and we have to describe him over 
again. The body below is brassy yellow. 

The beautiful colors which the male 
sunfish dons in spring, he puts at once to 
practical use. Professor Reighard says that 
when courting and trying to persuade his 
chosen one to come to his nest and there 

deposit her eggs, he faces her, with his 
gill covers puffed out, the scarlet or orange 
spot on the ear-flap standing out bravely, 
and his black ventral fins spread wide to 
show off their patent-leather finish. Thus 
does he display himself before her and in- 
timidate her; but he is rarely allowed to 
do this in peace. Other males as brilliant 
as he arrive on the scene and he must 
forsooth stop parading before his lady love 
in order to fight his rival, and he fights 
with as much display of color as he courts. 
In the sunfish duel, however, the partici- 
pants do not seek to destroy each other but 
to intimidate each other. The vanquished 
one retires. Professor Gill says: "Mean- 
while the male has selected a spot in very 
shallow water near the shore, and gener- 
ally in a mass of aquatic vegetation, not 
too large or close together to entirely ex- 
clude the light and heat of the sun, and 
mostly under an overhanging plant. The 
choice is apt to be in some general strip 
of shallow water close by the shore which 
is favored by many others so that a num- 
ber of similar nests may be found close to- 
gether, although never encroaching on 
each other. Each fish slightly excavates 
and makes a saucer-like basin in the chosen 
area which is carefully cleared of all peb- 
bles. Such are removed by violent jerks of 
the caudal fin or are taken up by the 
mouth and carried to the circular bound- 
ary of the nest. An area of fine, clean sand 
or gravel is generally the result, but not 
infrequently, according to Dr. Reighard, 
the nest bottom is composed of the root- 
lets of water plants. The nest has a diam- 
eter of about twice the length of the fish." 
On the nest thus formed, the sunfish 
belle is invited to deposit her eggs, which 
as soon as laid fall to the bottom and be- 
come attached to the gravel at the bottom 
of the nest by the viscid substance which 
surrounds them. Her duty is then done 
and she departs, leaving the master in 
charge of his home and the eggs. If truth 
be told, he is not a strict monogamist. 
Professor Reighard noticed one of these 
males which reared in one nest two broods 
laid at quite different times by two fe- 
males. For about a week, depending upon 


the temperature, the male is absorbed in 
his care of the eggs and defends his nest 
with much ferocity; but after the eggs 
have hatched he considers his duty done 
and lets his progeny take care of" them- 
selves as best they may. 

Sunfish are easily taken care of in an 
aquarium, but each should be kept by 
himself, as they are likely to attack any 
smaller fish and are most uncomfortable 
neighbors. I have kept one of these beauti- 


2. What is the general shape of the 
sunfish's body as seen from above? As 
seen from the side? Why is it called pump- 

3. Describe the dorsal fin. How many 
spines has it? How many soft rays? What 
is the difference in appearance between 
the front and hind dorsal fin? Do the 
two act together or separately? Describe 
the tail fin. Describe the anal fin. Has it 
any spines? If so, where are they? Where 

ful, shimmering pumpkinseeds for nearly are the ventral fins in relation to the pec- 

a year by feeding him every alternate 
day with an earthworm; the unfortunate 
worms are kept stored in damp soil in an 
iron kettle during the winter. When I 
threw one of them into the aquarium the 
sunfish would seize it and shake it as a 
terrier shakes a rat; but this was perhaps 
to make sure of his hold. Once he at- 
tempted to take a second worm directly 
after the first; but it was a doubtful pro- 
ceeding, and the worm reappeared as often 
as a prima donna, waving each time a fren- 
zied farewell to the world. 

by Raymond T. Fuller; Backyard Explo- 
ration, by Paul G. Howes; The Pet Book, 
by Anna B. Comstock; also, readings on 
page 144. 



seeds are very gamy little fishes which 
seize the hook with much fierceness. They 
live in the still waters of our streams or 
in ponds and build nests in the spring, 
in which the eggs are laid and which they 
defend valiantly. 

METHOD The common pumpkinseed 
in the jar aquarium is all that is neces- 
sary for this lesson. However, it will add 
much to the interest of the lesson if the 
boys who have fished for pumpkinseeds 
will tell of their experiences. The chil- 
dren should acquire from this lesson 
an interest in nesting habits of the sun- 

OBSERVATIONS i. Where are the sun- 
fish found? How do they act when they 
take the hook? 

torals? What is there peculiar about the 
appearance and movements of the pec- 
toral fins? 

4. Describe the eye of the sunfish. Is 
it large or small? Is 'it placed so that the 
fish can see on each side? Does the eye 
move in all directions? 

5. Describe the position of the mouth. 
In which direction does it open? 

6. What is the color of the upper por- 
tion of the gill opening or operculum? 
What is the general color of the sunfish? 
Above? Below? Along the sides? What 
markings do you see? 

7. Where does the sunfish make its 
nest? Does the father or mother sunfish 
make the nest? Does one or both protect 
it? Describe the nest. 

8. How many names do you know for 
the sunfish? Describe the actions of your 
sunfish in the aquarium. How does he act 
when eating an earthworm? 

The lamprey is not a fish at all, only a 
wicked imitation of one which can deceive 
nobody. But there are fishes which are un- 
questionably fish fish from gills to tail, 
from head to fin, and of these the little 
sunfish may stand first. He comes up the 
brook in the spring, fresh as " coin just 
from the mint/' finny arms and legs wide 
spread, his gills moving, his mouth open- 
ing and shutting rhythmically, his tail 
wide spread, and ready for any sudden 
motion for which his erratic little brain 
may give the order. The scales of the sun- 
fish shine with all sorts of scarlet, blue, 
green, and purple and golden colors. 
There is a blaclc spot on his head which 
looks like an ear, and sometimes grows out 



in a long black flap, which makes the imi- 
tation still closer. There are many species 
of the sunfish, and there may be half a 
dozen of them in the same brook, but 
that makes no difference; for our purposes 
they are all one. 

They lie poised in the water, with all 
fins spread, strutting like turkey-cocks, 
snapping at worms and little crustaceans 
and insects whose only business in the 
brook is that the fishes may eat them. 
When the time comes, the sunfish makes 
its nest in the fine gravel, building it with 
some care for a fish. When the female 

has laid her eggs the male stands guard 
until the eggs are hatched. His sharp teeth 
and snappish ways, and the bigness of his 
appearance when the fins are all displayed, 
keep the little fishes away. Sometimes, in 
his zeal, he snaps at a hook baited with a 
worm. He then makes a fierce fight, and 
the boy who holds the rod is sure that he 
has a real fish this time. But when the 
sunfish is out of the water, strung on a 
willow rod, and dried in the sun, the boy 
sees that a very little fish can make a good 
deal of a fuss. 


State of New York Conservation Department 

Johnny darter 
Boleosoma nigrum 


We never tired of watching the little Johnny, or Tessellated darter (Boleosoma ni- 
grum); although our earliest aquarium friend, (and the very first specimens showed 
us by a rapid ascent of the river weed how " a Johnny could climb trees/') he has still 
many resources which we have never learned. Whenever we try to catch him with the 
hand we begin with all the uncertainty that characterized our first attempts, even if we 
have him in a two-quart pail. We may know him by his short fins, his first dorsal having 
but nine spines, and by the absence of all color save a soft, yellowish brown, which is 
freckled with darker markings. The dark brown on the sides is'arranged in seven or eight 
W-shaped marks, below which are a few flecks of the same color. Covering the sides of 
the back are the wavy markings and dark specks which have given the name of the 
" Tessellated Darter "; but Boleosoma is a preferred name, and we even prefer " boly " 
for short. In the spring the males have the head jet black; and this dark color often ex- 
tends on the back part of the body, so that the fish looks as if he had been taken by the 
tail and dipped into a bottle of ink. But with the end of the nuptial season this color 
disappears and the fish regains his normal, strawy hue. 

His actions are rather bird-like; for he will strike attitudes like a tufted titmouse and 
he flies rather than swims through the water. He will, with much perseverance, push 
his body between a plant and the sides of the aquarium and balance himself on a slen- 



der stem. Crouching catlike before a snail shell, he will snap off a horn which the un- 
lucky owner pushes timidly out. But he is also less dainty and seizing the animal by the 
head, he dashes the shell against the glass or stones until he pulls the body out or 
breaks the shell. DAVID STARR JORDAN 

The johnny darters are, with the stickle- 
backs, the most amusing little fish in 
the aquarium. They are well called darters 
since their movements are so rapid when 
they are frightened that the eye can 
scarcely follow them; and there is some- 
thing so irresistibly comical in their bright, 
saucy eyes, placed almost on top of the 
head, that no one could help calling one 
of them " Johnny." A " johnny " will look 
at you from one side, and then as quick 
as a flash, will flounce around and study 
you with the other eye and then come 
toward you head-on so that he may take 
you in with both eyes; he seems just as 
interested in the Johnny out of the jar 
as is the latter in the johnny within. 

The johnny darter has a queerly shaped 
body for a fish, for the head and shoulders 
are the larger part of him not that he 
suddenly disappears into nothingness; by 
no means! His body is long and very 
slightly tapering to the tail; along his 
lateral line he has a row of olive-brown 
W's worked out in scale-mosaic; and he 
has some other scale-mosaics also follow- 
ing a pattern of angular lines and making 
blotches along his back. The whole upper 
part of his body is pale olive, which is a 
good imitation of the color of the brook. 

The astonished and anxious look on the 
johnny darter's face comes from the pe- 
culiar position of the eyes, which are set 
in the top of his forehead; they are big, 
alert eyes, with large black pupils, sur- 
rounded by a shining, pale yellow line at 
the inner edge of the green iris; and as the 
pupil is not set in the center of the eye, 
the iris above being wider than below, 
the result is an astonished look, as from 
raised eyebrows. The eyes move, often 
so swiftly that it gives the impression of 
winking. The eyes, the short snout, and 
the wide mouth give johnny a decidedly 
froglike aspect. 

Although he is no frog, yet johnny 
darter seems to be in a fair way to de- 

velop something to walk upon. His pec- 
toral fins are large and strong and the 
ventral pair are situated very close to 
them; when he rests upon the gravel he 
supports himself upon one or both of 
these pairs of fins. He rests with the pec- 
toral fins outspread, the sharp points of 
the rays taking hold of the gravel like 
toenails and thus giving him the appear- 
ance of walking on his fins; if you poke 
him gently, you will find that he is very 
firmly planted on his fins so that you can 
turn him around as if he were on a pivot. 
He also uses the pectorals for swimming 
and jerks himself along with them in a 
way that makes one wonder if he could 
not swim well without any tail at all. The 
tail is large and almost straight across 
the end and is a most vigorous pusher. 
There are two dorsal fins. The front one 
has only spiny rays; when the fin is raised 
it appears almost semicircular in shape. 
The second dorsal fin is much longer, and 
when lifted stands higher than the front 
fin; its rays are all soft except the front 
one. As soon as the johnny stops swim- 
ming he shuts the front dorsal fin so that 
it can scarcely be detected; when he is 
frightened, his body lies motionless on the 
bottom; this act always reminds one of 
the "freezing" habit of the rabbit. But 
johnny does not stay scared very long; he 
lifts his head up inquisitively, stretching 
up as far as he is able on his feet, that is, 
his paired fins, in such a comical way that 
one can hardly realize he is a fish. 

The tail and the dorsal fin of the johnny 
darter are marked with silver dots which 
give them an exquisite spun-glass look; 
they are as transparent as gauze. 

The johnny darters live in clear, swift 
streams where they rest on the bottom, 
with the head upstream. Dr. Jordan has 
said they can climb up water weed with 
their paired fins. I have never observed 
them doing this but I have often seen one 
walk around the aquarium on his fins as if 



they were little fan-shaped feet; and when 
swimming he uses his fins as a bird uses 
its wings. There are many species of dart- 
ers, some of them the most brilliantly 
colored of all our fresh-water fishes. The 
darters are perchlike in form. 

Dr. Jordan says of the breeding habits 
of the darters: " On the bottom, among 
the stones, the female casts her spawn. 
Neither she nor the male pays any further 
attention to it, but in the breeding season 
the male is painted in colors as beautiful 
as those of the wood warblers. When you 
go to the brook in the spring you will 
find him there, and if you catch him and 
turn him over on his side you will see 
the colors that he shows to his mate, and 
which observation shows are most useful 
in frightening away his younger rivals. But 
do not hurt him. Put him back in the 
brook and let him paint its bottom with 
colors of a rainbow, a sunset or a garden 
of roses. All that can be done with blue, 
crimson and green pigments, in fish orna- 
mentation, you will find in some brook in 
which the darters live." 

by Raymond T. Fuller; Nature and Sci- 
ence Readers, by Edith M. Patch and Har- 
rison E. Howe, Book 2, Outdoor Visits; 
The Pet Boole, by Anna B. Comstock; 
The Pond Book, by Walter P. Porter and 
Einar A. Hansen; also, readings on page 


LEADING THOUGHT The johnny darter 
naturally rests upon the bottom of the 
stream. It uses its two pairs of paired fins 
somewhat as feet in a way interesting to 

METHOD Johnny darters may be 
caught in nets with other small fish and 
placed in the aquarium. Place one or two 
of them in individual aquaria where the 
pupils may observe them at their leisure. 
They do best in running water. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Describe or sketch 
the johnny darter from above. From the 
side. Can you see the W-shaped marks 

along its side? How is it colored above? 

2. How are the pectoral fins placed? 
Are they large or small? How are they 
used in swimming? Where are the ventral 
fins placed? How are the ventrals and 
dorsals used together? When resting on 
the bottom how are the pectoral fins used? 

3. What is there peculiar about the 
dorsal fins of the johnny darter? When he 
is resting, what is the attitude of the dorsal 
fins? What is the difference in shape of 
the rays of the front and hind dorsal fins? 

4. When resting on the bottom of the 
aquarium how is the body held? On what 
does it rest? In moving about the bottom 
slowly why does it seem to walk? How 
does it climb up water weed? 

5. When frightened how does it act? 
Why is it called a darter? What is the 
attitude of all the fins when the fish is 
moving swiftly? 

6. What is the shape of the tail? 

7. What is there peculiar about the eyes 
of the johnny? Describe the eyes and their 
position. What is there in the life of the 
fish that makes this position of the eyes 

8. Where do we find the johnny dart- 
ers? In what part of the stream do they 
live? Are they usually near the surface of 
the water or at the bottom? 

To my mind, the best of all subjects 
for nature-study is a brook. It affords stud- 
ies of many kinds. It is near and dear to 
every child. It is an epitome of the nature 
in which we live. In miniature, it illus- 
trates the forces which have shaped much 
of the earth's surface. It reflects the sky. 
It is kissed by the sun. It is rippled by the 
wind. The minnows play in the pools. 
The soft weeds grow in the shallows. The 
grass and the dandelions lie on its sunny 
banks. The moss and the fern are shel- 
tered in the nooks. It comes from one 
knows not whence; it flows to one knows 
not whither. It awakens the desire to ex- 
plore. It is fraught with mysteries. It typi- 
fies the flood of life. It goes on forever. 

In other words, the reason why the 
brook is such a perfect nature-study sub- 
ject is the fact that it is the central theme 



in a scene of life. Living things appeal to 

Nature-study not only educates, but 
it educates nature-ward; and nature is ever 
our companion, whether we will or no. 
Even though we are determined to shut 
ourselves in an office, nature sends her 
messengers. The light, the dark, the moon, 
the cloud, the rain, the wind, the falling 
leaf, the fly, the bouquet, the bird, the 
cockroach they are all ours. 

If one is to be happy, he must be in 
sympathy with common things. He must 
live in harmony with his environment. 
One cannot be happy yonder nor to- 
morrow: he is happy here and now, or 
never. Our stock of knowledge of com- 
mon things should be great. Few of us 
can travel. We must know the things at 

Nature-love tends toward naturalness, 
and toward simplicity of living. It tends 
country-ward. One word from the fields 
is worth two from the city. " God made 
the country. 77 

I expect, therefore, that much good will 

come from nature-study. It ought to revo- 
lutionize the school life, for it is capable 
of putting new force and enthusiasm into 
the school and the child. It is new, and 
therefore, is called a fad. A movement is 
a fad until it succeeds. We shall learn 
much, and shall outgrow some of our pres- 
ent notions, but nature-study has come to 
stay. It is in much the same stage of de- 
velopment that manual-training and kin- 
dergarten work were twenty-five years ago. 
We must take care that it does not crystal- 
lize into science-teaching on the one hand, 
nor fall into mere sentimentalism on the 

I would again emphasize the impor- 
tance of obtaining our fact before we let 
loose the imagination, for on this point 
will largely turn the results the failure 
or the success of the experiment. We must 
not allow our fancy to run away with us. 
If we hitch our wagon to a star, we must 
ride with mind and soul and body all alert. 
When we ride in such a wagon, we must 
not forget to put in the tail-board. 



Especially during early spring, one is 
likely to see many frogs, toads, and sala- 
manders about ponds and other shallow 
water. These animals are harmless crea- 
tures; they do not bite and their chief 
method of defense is to escape to some 
place of concealment. 

While there are exceptions to the gen- 
eral rule, and great variations in the life 
habits of these animals, it may be said 
that they are fitted to spend certain pe- 
riods of their lives on land and other peri- 
ods in water. In general, the immature 
stages are passed in or quite near water 
and the young are commonly called tad- 
poles. Of course, this means that the males 
and females of most species must return 
each year to the ponds, streams, or pools 
for the purpose of mating. Eggs are laid 
at once and usually hatch within a few 
days; the length of time varies according 
to the species and the weather conditions. 

To this entire group of cold-blooded an- 
imals the term amphibian is applied; this 
term was selected because it really means 
" double life " these animals live part of 
their lives on land and part in or quite 
near water. The presence or absence of a 
tail, during adult life, divides the amphibi- 
ans into two more or less natural groups, 
the tailed and the tailless amphibians. 

Trails, by Lillian C. Athey; Backyard Ex- 
ploration, by Paul G. Howes; Field Boole 
of Ponds and Streams, by Ann H. Morgan; 
Our Great Outdoors, Reptiles, Amphibi- 
ans and Fishes, by C. W. G. Eifrig; Out- 
of -Doors, A Guide to Nature, by Paul B. 
Mann and George T. Hastings; Reptiles 
and Amphibians; Their Habits and Adap- 
tations, by Thomas Barbour; The Stir of 
Nature, by William H. Carr. (See also 
the Bibliography in the back of this 


This group includes the frogs and toads. 
In attaining the adult stage these animals 
lose their tadpole tails; but we do not 
mean that the tail drops from the body; 

rather let us say that it is absorbed by 
the body before the animal reaches the 
adult stage. 


The toad hopped by us with jolting springs. AKERS 

Whoever has not had a pet toad has 
missed a most entertaining experience. 
Toad actions are surprisingly interesting; 
one of my safeguards against the blues is 
the memory of the thoughtful way one 
of my pet toads rubbed and patted its 
stomach with its little hands after it had 
swallowed a June bug. Toads do not make 
warts upon attacking hands, neither do 
they rain down nor are they found in the 

bedrock of quarries; but they do have a 
most interesting history of their own, 
which is not at all legendary, and which 
is very like a life with two incarnations. 


The mother toad lays her eggs in May 
and June in ponds, or in the still pools, 
along streams; the eggs are laid in long 
strings of jelly-like substance, and are 



dropped upon the pond bottom or at- 
tached to water weeds; when first depos- 
ited, the jelly is transparent and the little 
black eggs can be plainly seen; but after 
a day or two, bits of dirt accumulate upon 
the jelly, obscuring the eggs. At first the 
eggs are spherical, like tiny black pills; 
but as they begin to develop, they elongate 
and finally the tadpoles may be seen wrig- 
gling in the jelly mass, which affords them 
efficient protection. After four or five 
days, the tadpoles usually work their way 
out and swim away; at this stage, the only 
way to detect the head is by the direction 
of the tadpole's progress, since it naturally 
goes head first. However, the head soon 
becomes decidedly larger, although at first 
it is not provided with a mouth; it has, 
instead, a V-shaped elevation where the 
mouth should be, which forms a sucker 
secreting a sticky substance. By means of 
this substance the tadpole attaches itself 
to water weeds, resting head up. When 
the tadpoles are two or three days old, we 
can detect little tassels on either side of 

The toad in various stages of development 
from the egg to the adult 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Eggs of the spadefoot toad, Bufo com- 
pactilis. Some toads lay as many as 8,000 eggs 
in a season 

the throat, which are the gills by which 
the little creature breathes; the blood 
passes through these gills, and is purified 
by coming in contact with the air which 
is mixed in the water. About ten days 
later, these gills disappear beneath a mem- 
brane which grows down over them; but 
they are still used for breathing, simply 
having changed position from the outside 
to the inside of the throat. The water 
enters the nostrils to the mouth, passes 
through an opening in the throat and 
flows over the gills and out through a little 
opening at the left side of the body; this 
opening or breathing-pore can be easily 
seen in the larger tadpoles; and when the 
left arm develops, it is pushed out through 
this convenient orifice. 

When about ten days old, the tadpole 
has developed a small, round mouth 
which is constantly in search of some- 
thing to eat, and at the same time is con- 
stantly opening and shutting to take in 
air for the gills; the mouth is provided 
with horny jaws for biting off pieces of 
plants. As the tadpole develops, its mouth 
gets larger and wider and extends back 
beneath the eyes, with a truly toadlike 

At first, the tadpole's eyes are even with 
the surface of the head and can scarcely 
be seen, but later they become more prom- 
inent and bulge like the eyes of the adult 

The tail of the tadpole is long and flat, 
surrounded by a fin, and so is an or- 
gan for swimming. It strikes the water, 
first this side and then that, making most 
graceful curves, which seem to originate 


_ _ 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Eggs of Hammond's spadefoot, Scaphiopus 
hammondii. Although it looks so like our com- 
mon toad } the spadefoot belongs to a different 
genus; it lays its eggs in cylindrical masses on 
submerged twigs or grass 

near the body and multiply toward the 
tip of the tail. This movement propels 
the tadpole forward, or in any direction. 
The tail is very thin when seen from 
above; and it is amusing to look at a tad- 
pole from above, and then at the side; it 
is like squaring a circle. 

There is a superstition that tadpoles 
eat their tails; and in a sense this is true, 
because the material that is in the tail is 
absorbed into the growing body; but the 
last thing a right-minded tadpole would 
do would be to bite off its own tail. How- 
ever, if some other tadpole should bite off 
the tail or a growing leg, these organs 
conveniently grow anew. 

When the tadpole is a month or two 
old, depending upon the species, its hind 
legs begin to show; they first appear as 
mere buds which finally push out com- 
pletely. The feet are long and are pro- 
vided with five toes, of which the fourth 
is the longest; the toes are webbed so that 
they may be used to help in swimming. 
Two weeks later the arms begin to appear, 

the left one pushing out through the 
breathing-pore. The " hands " have four 
fingers and are not webbed; they are used 
in the water for balancing, while the hind 
legs are used for pushing, as the tail be- 
comes smaller. 

As the tadpole grows older, not only 
does its tail become shorter but its actions 
change. It now comes often to the surface 
of the water in order to get more air for 
its gills, although it lacks the frog tad- 
pole's nice adjustment of the growing 
lungs and the disappearing gills. At last, 
some fine rainy day, the little creature 
feels that it is finally fitted to live the life 
of a land animal. It may not be a half inch 
in length, with big head, attenuated body, 
and stumpy tail, but it swims to the shore, 
lifts itself on its front legs, which are 
scarcely larger than pins, and walks off, 
toeing in, with a very grownup air; and 
at this moment the tadpole attains toad- 
ship. Numbers of tadpoles come out of 
the water together, hopping hither and 
thither with all of the eagerness and vim 
of untried youth. It is through issuing 
thus in hordes from the water that they 
gain the reputation of being rained down, 
when they really were rained up. It is quite 
impossible for a beginner to detect the 
difference between the toad and the frog 
tadpole; usually those of the toads are 
black, while those of the frogs are other- 
wise colored, though this is not an in- 
variable distinction. The best way to dis- 
tinguish the two is to get the eggs and 
develop the two families separately. 


The general color of the common 
American toad is extremely variable. It 
may be yellowish brown, with spots of 
lighter color, and with reddish or yellow 
warts. There are likely to be four irregu- 
lar spots of dark color along each side of 
the middle of the back, and the under 
parts are light-colored, often somewhat 
spotted. The throat of the male toad is 
black and he is not so bright in color as is 
the female. The warts upon the back are 
glands, which secrete a substance disa- 


greeable for the animal seeking toad din- 
ners. This is especially true of the glands 
in the elongated swellings above and just 
back of the ear, which are called the pa- 
rotid glands; these give forth a milky, poi- 
sonous substance when the toad is seized 
by an enemy, although the snakes do not 
seem to mind it. Some people have an 
idea that the toad is slimy, but this is not 
true; the skin is perfectly dry. The toad 
feels cold to the hand because it is a 
cold-blooded animal, which means an ani- 
mal with blood the temperature of the 
surrounding atmosphere; the blood of the 
warm-blooded animal has a temperature 
of its own, which it maintains whether 
the surrounding air is cold or hot. 

The toad's face is well worth study; its 
eyes are elevated and very pretty, the pupil 
being oval and the surrounding iris shin- 
ing like gold. The toad winks in a whole- 
sale fashion, the eyes being pulled down 
into the head; the eyes are provided with 
nictitating lids, which rise from below, 
and are similar to those found in birds. 
When a toad is sleeping, its eyes do not 
bulge but are drawn in, so as to lie even 
with the surface of the head. The two 

S. H. Gage 

A common toad, Bufo americanus, as he 
appears in winter sleep and after awakening 
in the spring 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

The giant toad, Bufo alvarius. This huge 
toad of the Southwest is from 3^4 to 6% 
inches long. If molested it will secrete a fluid 
which is strong enough to paralyze a dog 

tiny nostrils are black and are easily seen; 
the ear is a flat, oval spot behind the eye 
and a little lower down; in the common 
species it is not quite so large as the eye; 
this is really the eardrum, since there is 
no external ear like ours. The toad's 
mouth is wide and its jaws are horny; it 
does not need teeth since it swallows its 
prey whole. 

The toad is a jumper, as may be seen 
from its long, strong hind legs, the feet of 
which are also long and strong and are 
armed with five toes that are somewhat 
webbed. The " arms " are shorter and 
there are four " fingers " to each " hand "; 
when the toad is resting, its front feet 
toe-in in a comical fashion. If a toad is re- 
moved from an earth or moss garden 7 
and put into a white wash-bowl, in a few 
hours it will change to a lighter hue, and 
vice versa. This is part of its protective 
color, making it inconspicuous to the 
eyes of its enemy. It prefers to live in 
cool, damp places, beneath sidewalks or 
porches, etc., and its warty upper surface 
resembles the surrounding earth. If it is 
disturbed, it will seek to escape by long 
leaps, and acts frightened; but if very 
much frightened, it flattens out on the 
ground, and looks so nearly like a clod of 
earth that it may escape even the keen 
eyes of its pursuer. When seized by the 
enemy, it will sometimes " play possum," 
acting as if it were dead; but when actually 
in the mouth of the foe, it emits terrified 
and heart-rending cries. 

The toad's tongue is attached to the 


lower jaw, at the front edge of the mouth; 
it can thus be thrust far out, and since 
it secretes a sticky substance over its sur- 
face, any insects which it touches adhere, 
and are drawn back into the mouth 
and swallowed. It takes a quick eye to see 
this tongue fly out and make its catch. 
The tadpole feeds mostly upon vegetable 
matter, but the toad lives entirely upon 
small animals, usually insects; it is not par- 
ticular as to what kind of insects, but be- 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

The little green toad, Bufo debilis. This 
small amphibian, resembling a lichen in ap- 
pearance, is about 1% inches long. It lives in 
grassy ^ flat lands from Kansas and Colorado 
south into northern Mexico 

cause of the situations which it haunts, it 
usually feeds upon those which are injuri- 
ous to grass and plants. Indeed, the toad 
is really the friend of the gardener and 
the farmer, and has been most ungrate- 
fully treated by those whom it has be- 
friended. If you doubt that a toad is an 
animal of judgment, watch it when it finds 
an earthworm and set your doubts at rest! 
It will walk around the squirming worm, 
until it can seize it by the head, apparently 
knowing well that the horny hooks ex- 
tending backward from the segments of 
the worm are likely to rasp the throat if 
swallowed the wrong way. If the worm 
prove too large a mouthful, the toad 
promptly uses its hands in an amusing 
fashion to stuff the wriggling morsel down 
its throat. When swallowing a large 
mouthful, it closes its eyes; but whether 
this aids the process, or is merely an ex- 
pression of bliss, we have not determined. 
The toad never drinks by taking in water 

through the mouth, but absorbs it through 
the skin; when it wishes to drink, it 
stretches itself out in shallow water and 
thus satisfies its thirst; it will waste away 
and die in a short time, if kept in a dry 

The toad burrows in the earth by a 
method of its own, hard to describe. It 
kicks backward with its strong hind legs, 
and in some mysterious way, the earth 
soon covers all excepting its head; then, 
if an enemy comes along, back goes the 
head, the earth caves in around it, and 
where is your toad! It remains in its bur- 
row or hiding place usually during the day, 
and comes out at night to feed. This habit 
is an advantage, because snakes are then 
safely at home and, too, there are many 
more insects to be found at night. The 
sagacious toads have discovered that the 
vicinity of street lights is swarming with 
insects, and there they gather in numbers. 
In winter they burrow deeply in the 
ground and go to sleep, remaining dor- 
mant until the warmth of spring awakens 
them; then they come out, and the mother 
toads seek their native ponds there to lay 
eggs for the coming generation. They are 
excellent swimmers; when they are swim- 
ming rapidly, the front legs are laid back- 
ward along the sides of the body, so as to 
offer no resistance to the water; but when 
they are moving slowly, the front legs 
are used for balancing and for keeping 

The song of the toad is a pleasant, 
crooning sound, a sort of guttural trill; it 
is made when the throat is puffed out al- 
most globular, thus forming a vocal sac; 
the sound is made by the air drawn in at 
the nostrils and passed back and forth 
from the lungs to the mouth over the 
vocal chords, the puffed-out throat acting 
as a resonator. 

The toad has no ribs by which to inflate 
the chest, and thus draw air into the lungs, 
as we do when we breathe; it is obliged 
to swallow the air instead and thus force 
it into the lungs. This movement is shown 
in the constant pulsation, in and out, of 
the membrane of the throat. 

As the toad grows, it sheds its homy 


skin, which it swallows; as this process is 
usually done strictly in private, the ordi- 
nary observer sees it but seldom. One of 
the toad's nice common qualities is its 
enjoyment in having its back scratched 

The toad has many enemies; chief 
among these is the snake and only less 
so are crows and also birds of prey. 

by Mary C. Dickerson; Handbook of 
Frogs and Toads, by Anna A. and Albert 
H. Wright; Mother Nature Series, by Fan- 
nie W. Dunn and Eleanor Troxell, Book 
2, By the Roadside; Nature and Science 
Readers, by Edith M. Patch and Harrison 
E. Howe/Book i, Hunting; The Pond 
Book, by Walter P. Porter and Einar A. 
Hansen; Science Stories, by Wilbur L. 
Beauchamp and Co-authors, Book i; also, 
readings on page 170. 


should understand how to make the tad- 
poles comfortable and thus be able to rear 

MATERIALS A tin or agate pan, a deep 
earthenware wash-bowl, a glass dish, or a 
wide-mouthed glass jar. 

THINGS TO BE DONE i. Go to some 
pond where tadpoles live. 

2. Take some of the small stones on 
the bottom and at the sides of the pond, 
lifting them very gently so as not to dis- 
turb what is growing on their surface. 
Place these stones on the bottom of the 
pan, building up one side higher than the 
other, so that the water will be more shal- 
low on one side than on the other; a 
stone or two should project above the 

3. Take some of the mud and leaves 
from the bottom of the pond, being care- 
ful not to disturb them, and place upon 
the stones. 

4. Take some of the plants found grow- 
ing under water in the pond and plant 
them among the stones. 

5. Carry the pan thus prepared back to 

the schoolhouse and place it where the 
sun will not shine directly upon it. 

6. Bring a pail of water from the pond 
and pour it very gently in at one side of 
the pan, so as not to disarrange the plants; 
fill the pan nearly to the brim. 

7. After the mud has settled and the 
water is perfectly clear, remove some of 
the tadpoles which have hatched in the 
glass aquarium and place them in the 
" pond/' Not more than a dozen should 
be put in a pan of this size, since the 
amount of food and microscopic plants 
which are on the stones in the mud will 
afford food for only a few tadpoles. 

8. Every week add a little more mud 
from the bottom of the pond or another 
stone covered with slime, which is prob- 
ably some plant growth. More water from 
the pond should be added to replace that 

9. Care should be taken that the tad- 
pole aquarium be kept where the sun will 
not shine directly upon it for any length 
of time, because if the water gets too 
warm the tadpoles will die. 

10. Pvemove the " skin " from one 
side of a tulip leaf, so as to expose the 
pulp of the leaf, and give to the tadpoles 
every day or two. Bits of hard-boiled egg 
should be given now and then. 


LEADING THOUGHT The toads' eggs 
are laid in strings of jelly in ponds. The 
eggs hatch into tadpoles which are crea- 
tures of the water, breathing by gills, and 
swimming with a long fin. The tadpoles 
gradually change to toads, which are air- 
breathing creatures, fitted for life on dry 

METHOD The eggs of toads may be 
found in almost any pond about the first 
of May and may be scraped up from the 
bottom in a scoop-net. They should be 
placed in the aquarium where the children 
can watch the stages of development. 
Soon after they are hatched, a dozen or 
so should be selected and placed in the 
tadpole aquarium and the others put back 
into the stream. The children should ob- 

F. Harper and A. A. Wright 

Southern toad, Bufo terrestris. When the 
male is croaking his throat is puffed out as 
in the picture. The color of the Southern toads 
varies from red or gray to black, and in size 
they range in length from 1% inches to 3% 
inches. They are found from North Carolina 
to Florida and west to the Mississippi River 

serve the tadpoles every day, watching 
carefully all the changes of structure and 
habit which take place. If properly fed, 
the tadpoles will be ready to leave the 
water in July as tiny toads. 

OBSERVATIONS - 1 . Where were the 
toads' eggs found and on what date? Were 
they attached to anything in the water or 
were they floating free? Are the eggs in 
long strings? Do you find any eggs laid in 
jelly-like masses? If so, what are they? How 
can you tell the eggs of toads from those of 

2. Is the jelly-like substance in which 
the eggs are placed clear or discolored? 
What is the shape and the size of the eggs? 
A little later how do they look? Do the 
young tadpoles move about while they 
are still in the jelly mass? 

3. Describe how the little tadpole works 
its way out from the jelly covering. Can 
you distinguish then which is head and 
which is tail? How does the tadpole act at 
first? Where and how does it rest? 

4. Can you see with the aid of a lens 
the little fringes on each side of the neck? 
What are these? Do these fringes dis- 
appear a little later? Do they disappear 
on both sides of the neck at once? 
What becomes of them? How does the 
tadpole breathe? Can you see the little 
hole on the left side, through which the 
water used for breathing passes? 


5. How does the tail look and how is 
it used? How long is it in proportion to 
the body? Describe the act of swimming. 

6. Which pair of legs appears first? 
How do they look? When they get a little 
larger are they used as a help in swim- 
ming? Describe the hind legs and feet. 

7. How long after the hind legs appear 
before the front legs or arms appear? What 
happens to the breathing-pore when the 
left arm is pushed through? 

8. After both pairs of legs are developed 
what happens to the tail? What becomes 
of it? 

9. When the tadpole is very young can 
you see its eyes? How do they look as it 
grows older? Do they ever bulge out like 
toads' eyes? 

10. As the tadpole gains its legs and 
loses its tail how does it change in its 
actions? How does it swim now? Does it 
come oftener to the surface? Why? 

11. Describe the difference between 
the front and the hind legs and the front 
and the hind feet on the fully grown tad- 
pole. If the tail or a leg is bitten off by 
some other creature will it grow again? 


LEADING THOUGHT The toad is col- 
ored so that it resembles the soil and thus 
often escapes the observation of its ene- 
mies. It lives in damp places and eats 
insects, usually hunting them at night. It 
has powerful hind legs and is a vigorous 

METHOD Make a moss garden in a 
glass aquarium jar thus: Place some stones 
or gravel in the bottom of the jar and 
cover with moss. Cover the jar with a wire 
screen. The moss should be deluged with 
water at least once a day and the jar should 
be placed where the direct sunlight will 
not reach it. In this jar, place the toacl for 

OBSERVATIONS i . Describe the gen- 
eral color of the toad above and below. 
How does the toad's back look? Of what 
use are the warts on its back? 

2. Where is the toad usually found? 



Does it feel warm or cold to the hand? Is 
it slimy or dry? The toad is a cold-blooded 
animal; what does this mean? 

3. Describe the eyes and explain how 
their situation is of special advantage to 
the toad. Do you think it can see in front 
and behind and above all at the same 
time? Does the bulge of the eyes help 
in this? Note the shape and color of 
the pupil and iris. How does the toad 

4. Find and describe the nostrils. Find 
and describe the ear. Note the swelling 
above and just back of the ear. Do you 
know the use of this? 

5. What is the shape of the toad's 
mouth? Has it any teeth? Is the toad's 
tongue attached to the front or the back 
part of the mouth? How is it used to catch 

6. Describe the "arms and hands." 
How many " fingers " on the " hand "? 
Which way do the fingers point when the 
toad is sitting down? 

7. Describe the legs and feet. How 
many toes are there? What is the relative 
length of the toes and how are they con- 
nected? What is this web between the 
toes for? Why are the hind legs so much 
larger than the front legs? 

8. Will a toad change color if placed 
upon different colored objects? How long 
does it take it to do this? Of what advan- 
tage is this to the toad? 

9. Where does the toad live? When 
it is disturbed how does it act? How far 

can it jump? If very frightened does it 
flatten out and lie still? Why is this? 

10. At what time does the toad come 
out to hunt insects? How does it catch 
the insect? Does it swallow an earthworm 
head or tail first? When swallowing an 
earthworm or large insect, how does it 
use its hands? How does it act when swal- 
lowing a large mouthful? 

11. How does the toad drink? Where 
does it remain during the day? Describe 
how it burrows into the earth. 

12. What happens to the toad in the 
winter? What does it do in the spring? Is 
it a good swimmer? How does it use its 
legs in swimming? 

13. How does the toad look when 
croaking? What sort of noise does it 

14. Describe the action of the toad's 
throat when breathing. Did you ever see 
a toad shed its skin? 

15. What are the toad's enemies? How 
does it act when caught by a snake? Does 
it make any noise? Is it swallowed head 
or tail first? What means has it of escap- 
ing or defending itself from its enemies? 

16. How is the toad of great use to the 
farmer and gardener? 

In the early years we are not to teach 
nature as science, we are not to teach it 
primarily for method or for drill: we are 
to teach it for loving and this is nature- 
study. On these points I make no com- 
promise. _ L< H> BAILEY 


Ere yet the earliest warbler wakes, of coming spring to tell, 

From every marsh a chorus breaks, a choir invisible, 

As if the blossoms underground, a breath of utterance had found. TABB 

Associated with the first songs of robin 
and bluebird, is the equally delightful 
chorus of the spring peepers, yet how in- 
frequently do most of us see a member 
of this invisible choir! There are some 
creatures which are the quintessence of 
the slang word " cute," which, interpreted, 
means the perfection of Lilliputian pro- 

portions, permeated with undaunted 
spirit. The chickadee is one of these, and 
the spring peeper is another. I confess to 
a thrill of delight when the Pickering's 
hyla lifts itself on its tiny front feet, twists 
its head knowingly, and turns on me the 
full gaze of its bronze-rimmed eyes. This 
is one of the tiniest f roglets of them all, be- 

i 7 8 


ing little more than an inch long when 
fully grown; it wears the Greek cross in 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

The spring peeper^ Hyla crucifer. Here is 
shown the characteristic St. Andrew's cross 
on the peeper's back. This small frog, measur- 
ing % inch to 1% inches in length will be 
found from Manitoba to Maine and south- 

darker color upon its back, with some 
stripes across its long hind legs, which join 
the pattern on the back when the frog 
is " shut up/' as the boys say. 

The reason we see so little of spring 
peepers is that they are protected from 
discovery by their color. They have the 
chameleon power of changing color to 
match their background. This change can 
be effected in twenty minutes; the darker 
lines forming the cross change first, giving 
a mottled appearance which is at once pro- 
tective. I have taken three of these peep- 
ers, all of them pale yellowish brown with 
gray markings, and have placed one upon 
a fern, one on dark soil, and one on the 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

The note of the male spring peeper is a 
shrill, clear call and while it is being given his 
throat expands into a large bubble 

purple bud of a flower. Within half an 
hour, each matched its surroundings so 
closely that the casual eye would not 
detect them. The song of the Pickering's 
hyla is a resonant chirp, very stirring when 
heard nearby; it sounds somewhat like the 
note of a water bird. How such a small 
creature can make such a loud noise is a 
mystery. The process, however, may be 
watched at night by the light of a flash- 
light or lantern, as none of the peepers 
seem to pay any attention to an artificial 
light; the thin membrane beneath the 
throat swells out until it seems almost 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

The green tree frog } Hyla cinerea cinerea. 
These frogs, 1% to 2% inches long are bright 
green in color with a straw-colored stripe 
along each side. On the tips of their toes are 
discs which enable them to cling to vertical 
surfaces. The green tree frogs are found from 
Virginia to Texas and up the Mississippi 
River to Illinois 

large enough to balloon the little chap 
off his perch. No wonder that, with such 
a sounding-sac, the note is stirring. 

The spring peepers have toes and fingers 
ending in little round discs which secrete 
at will a substance by means of which 
they can cling to vertical surfaces, even 
to glass. In fact, the time to study these 
wonderful feet is when the frog is climb- 
ing up the sides of the glass jar. The 
fingers are arranged as follows: two short 
inside ones, a long one, and another short 



one outside. The hind feet have three 
shorter inside toes quite far apart, a long 
one at the tip of the foot and a shorter 
one outside. When climbing a smooth 
surface like glass, the toes are spread wide 
apart, and there are other little clinging 
discs on their lower sides, although not so 
large as those at the tips. It is by means of 
these sticky, disclike toes that the animals 
hold themselves upon the tree trunks or 
other upright objects. 

The whole body of the tree frog, a rela- 
tive of the spring peeper, is covered with 
little tubercles, which give it a roughened 
appearance. The eyes are black with the 
iris of reddish color. The tongue is like 
that of other frogs, hinged to the front of 
the lower jaw; it is sticky and can be 
thrust far out to capture insects, of which 
the tree frogs eat vast numbers. 

The spring peepers breathe by the rapid 
pulsation of the membrane of the throat, 
which makes the whole body tremble. 
The nostrils are two tiny holes on either 
side of the tip of the snout. The ears are 
a little below and just behind the eyes, and 
are in the form of circular discs. 

The eggs of the spring peepers are laid 
in ponds during April; each egg has a little 
globe of jelly about it and is fastened to 
a stone or a water plant. The tadpoles are 
small and delicate; the under side of the 
body is reddish and shines with metallic 


A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Common tree toad, Hyla versicolor versi- 
color. From Maine and southern Canada to 
the Gulf states is the range of these tree 
toads; their habitat is trees, logs, or stone 
fences. The color varies from ashy gray to 
brown or green; on the back is an irregular 
dark star. The eggs, in groups of thirty to 
forty, are attached to vegetation at the sur- 
face of the water 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Anderson tree jrog, Hyla andersonii. This 
is a small, beautiful, green frog with a light- 
bordered, plum-colored band along each side 
of its body. It lives chiefly in white cedar 
swamps from New Jersey to South Carolina 

luster. These tadpoles differ from those of 
other frogs in that they often leave the 
water while the tail is still quite long. In 
summer, they may be found among the 
leaves and moss around the banks of 
ponds. They are indefatigable in hunting 
for gnats, mosquitoes, and ants; their de- 
struction of mosquitoes, as pollywogs and 
as grown up frogs, renders them of great 
use to us. The voice of this peeper may be 
occasionally heard among the shrubs and 
vines or in trees during late summer and 
until November. The little creatures sleep 
beneath moss and leaves during the win- 
ter, waking to give us the earliest news of 

by Mary C. Dickerson; Handbook of 
Frogs and Toads, by Anna A. and Albert 
H. Wright; Mother Nature Series, by Fan- 
nie W. Dunn and Eleanor Troxell, Book 
3, In Field and Forest; The Pond Book, 
by Walter P. Porter and Einar A. Hansen; 
also, readings on page 170. 


LEADING THOUGHT The prettiest part 
of the spring chorus of the frog ponds 
is sung by the spring peepers. These little 
frogs have the tips of their toes specially 
fitted for climbing up the sides of trees. 

METHOD Make a moss garden in an 
aquarium jar or a two-quart can. Place 
stones in the bottom and moss at one side, 
leaving a place on the other side for a 



tiny pond of water. In this garden place 
a spring peeper, cover the jar with mos- 
quito netting, and place in the shade. 
The frogs may be found by searching the 
banks of a pond at night with a lantern. 
However, this lesson is usually given when 
by accident the spring peeper is discov- 
ered. Any species of tree frog will do; 
but the Pickering's hyla, known every- 
where as the spring peeper, is the most 
interesting species to study. 

OBSERVATIONS i . How large is the 
peeper? What is its color? Describe the 

2. Place the peeper on some light- 
colored surface like a piece of white 
blotting paper. Note if it changes color 
after a half hour. Later place it upon some 
dark surface. Note if it changes color again. 
How does this power of changing color 
benefit the animal? Place a peeper on 
a piece of bark. After a time does it be- 
come inconspicuous? 

3. Describe the eyes. Note how little 
the creature turns its head to see any- 
thing behind it. Describe its actions if its 
attention is attracted to anything. What 
color is the pupil? The iris? 

4. Note the movement of breathing. 
Where does this show the most? Exam- 

ine the delicate membrane beneath the 
throat. What has this to do with the 

5. What is the peeper's note? At what 
time of day does it peep? At what time 
of year? Describe how the frog looks when 

6. How does the peeper climb? When it 
is climbing up a vertical surface study its 
toes. How many on the front foot? How 
are they arranged? How many toes on the 
hind foot? Sketch the front and hind feet. 
How do the toe-discs look when pressed 
against the glass? How does it manage to 
make the discs cling and then let go? Are 
there any more discs on the under side 
of the toes? Is there a web between the 
toes of the hind feet? Of the front feet? 

7. Look at a peeper very closely and 
describe its nostrils and its ears. 

8. Are the peepers good jumpers? 
What is the size and length of the hind 
legs as compared with the body? 

9. When and where are the eggs of the 
peeper laid? How do they look? 

10. How do the peeper tadpoles differ 
from other tadpoles? Describe them if 
you have ever seen them. In what situa- 
tions do they live? 

11. Of what use are the peepers to us? 


The stroller along brooksides is likely 
to be surprised some day at seeing a bit 
of moss and earth suddenly make a long, 
high leap, without apparent provocation. 
An investigation resolves the clump of 
moss into a brilliantly green-spotted frog 
with two light-yellow raised stripes down 
his back; and then the stroller wonders 
how he could have overlooked such an 
obvious creature. But the leopard frog is 
only obvious when it is out of its environ- 
ment. The common green frog is quite 
as well protected since its color is exactly 
that of green pools. Most frogs spend 
their lives in or about water, and if 
caught on land they make great leaps 
to reach their native element; the leopard 

frog and a few other species, however, 
sometimes wander far afield. 

In form, the frog is more slim than the 
toad, and is not covered with great warts; 
it is cold and slippery to the touch. The 
frog's only chance of escaping its enemies 
is through the slipperiness of its body and 
by making long, rapid leaps. As a jumper, 
the frog is much more powerful than the 
toad because its hind legs are so much 
larger and more muscular, in comparison 
with its size. The first toe in the front 
foot of the male leopard frog is much 
swollen, making a fat thumb; the me- 
chanics of the hind legs make it possible 
for the frog to feather the webbed feet 
as it swims. On the bottom of the toes are 



The bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana. This is our largest frog, sometimes attaining a length of 
S inches. It is widely distributed east of the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Mexico. The 
bullfrog has a greenish drab back and a yellowish underside. The eggs are laid in a film, 
perhaps 2 feet square on the surface of still water. Its sonorous bass notes, jug-o'-rum, are 
heard in the evenings of early summer 

hardened places at the joints, and some- 
times others besides, which give the foot 
a strong hold when pushing for the jump. 
The toe tips, when they are pressed against 
the glass, resemble slightly the peepers 7 
discs. The hind foot is very long, while 
on the front foot the toes radiate almost 
in a circle. The foot and leg are colored 
like the back of the body above, and on 
the under side resemble the under parts. 

The frog is likely to be much more 
brightly colored than the toad, and usually 
has much of green and yellow in its dress. 
But the frog lives among green things, 
while it is to the toad's advantage to be 
the color of the soil. Frogs also have the 
chameleon power of changing color to 
harmonize with their environment. I have 
seen a very green leopard frog change to 
a slate-gray when placed upon slate-col- 
ored rock. The change took place in the 
green portions. The common green frog 
will likewise change to slate-color, in a 
similar situation. A leopard frog changed 
quickly from dark green to pale olive, 
when it was placed in the water after hav- 
ing been on the soil. 

The eyes of frogs are very prominent, 

and are beautiful when observed closely. 
The green frog has a dark bronze iris with 
a gleaming gold edge around the pupil, 
and around the outer margin. The eye of 
the leopard frog is darker; the iris seems to 
be black, with specks of ruddy gold scat- 
tered through it, and there is an outer 
band of red-gold around the margin. 
When the frog winks, the nictitating 
membrane rises from below and covers 
the whole eye; and when the frog makes 
a special effort of any sort, it has a comical 
way of drawing its eyes back into its head. 
When trying to hide at the bottom of 
the aquarium, the leopard species lets the 
eyelids fall over the eyes, so that they do 
not shine up and attract pursuers. 

The ear is in a similar position to that 
of the toad, and in the bullfrog is larger 
than the eye. In the green frog, it is a dull 
grayish disc, almost as large as the eye. 
In the leopard frog, it is not so large as 
the eye, and may have a giltish spot at 
the center. 

The nostrils are small and are closed 
when below the water, as may be easily 
seen by a lens. The mouth opens widely, 
the corners extending back under the eye. 



A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Male green frog, Rana clamitans. These in- 
habitants oj deep and shallow ponds are 
found in eastern North America from Hudson 
Bay to the Gulf. In the North they are among 
the largest frogs, ranging jrom 2 to 4 inches 
in length. The jemale is shown in the follow- 
ing picture 

The jaws are horny and are armed with 
teeth, which are for the purpose of bit- 
ing off food rather than for chewing it. 
When above water, the throat keeps up 
a rhythmic motion which is the process 
of breathing; but when below water this 
motion ceases. The food of frogs is largely 
composed of insects which frequent damp 
places or live in the water. 

The sound-sacs of the leopard frogs, 
instead of being beneath the throat, as 
is the case with toads and peepers, are 
at the side of the throat; and when in- 
flated may extend from just back of the 
eyes, out above the front legs and part 
way down the sides. The song is char- 
acteristic, and pleasant to listen to, if not 
too close by. Perhaps exception should be 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Female green frog, Rana clamitans. The 
color of these frogs in general is greenish 
brown with a bright green mark from the 
eardrum forward along the jaw. Note that 
the eardrum of the male is larger than that of 
the female 

made to the lay of the bullfrog, which like 
the song of some noted opera singers, is 
more wonderful than musical; the boom 
of the bullfrog makes the earth fairly 
quake. If we seize the frog by the hind 
leg, it will usually croak and thus demon- 
strate for us the position of its sound-sacs. 
In addition to the snakes, the frogs have 
inveterate enemies in the herons, which 
frequent shallow water and eat them in 
great numbers. The frogs hibernate in 
mud and about ponds, burrowing deep 
enough to escape freezing. In the spring, 
they come up and sing their spring songs 
and the mother leopard frogs lay their 
eggs in masses of jelly on the bottom of 
the pond, usually where the water is 

A. A, and A. H. Wright 

Wood frog } Rana sylvatica. In spring these 
frogs are found about ponds and temporary 
pools in wooded areas; at other times they 
are in the woods. They even hibernate under 
stumps, stones, or logs in or near woods. 
Their color varies from tan to brown, a 
prominent black mask covering the sides of 
the head. They range from, Quebec and Nova 
Scotia south to the Carolinas and westward 
to the plains 

deeper than in the situations where the 
toads' eggs are laid. The eggs of the two 
can always be distinguished, since the 
toads' are laid in strings of jelly, while the 
leopard frogs' are laid in masses. The bull- 
frog and green frog lay large films of eggs 
on the surface of the water. 

It is amusing to watch with a lens the 
frog tadpoles seeking for their microscopic 
food along the glass of the aquarium. 
There are horny upper and lower jaws, the 
latter being below and back of the former. 
The upper jaw moves back and forth 
slightly and rhythmically, but the drop- 
ping of the lower jaw opens the mouth. 
There are three rows of tiny black teeth 


below the mouth and one row above; at 
the sides and below these teeth are little, 
finger-like fringes. Fringes, rows of teeth, 
and jaws all work together, up and down, 
out and in, in the process of breathing. 
The nostrils, although minute, are present 
in the tadpole in its early stages. The pupil 
of the eye is almost circular and the iris 
is usually yellow or copper-bronze, with 
black mottling. The eyes do not wink or 
withdraw. The breathing-pore, which is 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Southern leopard frog, Rana sphenoceph- 
ala. The home of this frog is in swamps, over- 
flowed areas, or ponds in the southeastern 
states and northward along the coast to New 
Jersey. The pointed snout, glistening white 
underside, and ridges extending backward 
from each eye are characteristic 

on the left side, is a hole in a slight pro- 

At first, the tadpoles of the frogs and 
toads are very much alike; but later most 
of the frog tadpoles are lighter in color, 
usually being olive-green, mottled with 
specks of black and white. The frog tad- 
poles usually remain much longer than 
the toads in the tadpole stage, and when 
finally they change to adults, they are far 
larger in size than the toads are when 
they attain their jumping legs. 

by Raymond T. Fuller; The Frog Book, 
by Mary C. Dickerson; Handbook of 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Eggs of leopard frog, Rana pipiens pipiens. 
and wood frog, Rana sylvatica. The eggs of 
the leopard frog are laid in a flattened sphere 
in waters of swampy marshes, overflows, and 
ponds. In summer,, the adults are found in 
swampy areas, grassy woodlands, or even hay 
or grain fields. They range from the Pacific 
coast states into Mexico. The eggs of the wood 
frog are laid in round masses 

Frogs and Toads, by Anna A. and Albert 
H. Wright; Holiday Pond, by Edith M. 
Patch; Nature and Science Readers, by 
Edith M. Patch and Harrison E. Howe, 
Book 2, Outdoor Visits; The Pond Book, 
by Walter P. Porter and Einar A. Hansen; 
The Story of Frogs, by Mary B. Herring 
(Unit Study Book, No. 351); also, read- 
ings on page 170. 


LEADING THOUGHT The frog lives 
near or in ponds or streams. It is a power- 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Wright's bullfrog, Rana heckscheri. This is 
a transforming tadpole. Note that the left 
front leg has not yet pushed through the skin. 
The range of this frog is from South Carolina 
to Mississippi 


1 and 2. AMERICAN BELL TOAD, Ascaphus 
truei, male and fern-ale. The size of this toad 
is \Y% to 2 inches. Note that the male is tailed. 

Range: Northern California, Oregon, and 
Washington, and eastward into Montana. 
Habitat: Usually under rocks in small, cold 
mountain streams; in rainy seasons they may 
be found a short distance away from the water. 
They seem to be rather solitary in habit. 

3 and 4. OAK TOAD, Bufo quercicus. The 
adults of this pigmy toad range in size from 
*A to \Y inches. Its color varies from light 
brown to almost black. Note the expanded 
vocal sac of the male (No. 4); when deflated 
it is an apron fold under the throat. The call 
is a high whistle, which is more birdlike than 
froglike. A chorus of calls can be heard for more 
than an eighth of a mile. 

Range: North Carolina to Florida, west to 
Louisiana. Habitat: Pine barrens. 

5. NARROW MOUTH TOAD, Microhyla caro- 
linensis. The size of these dark, smooth-skinned 
toads ranges from %toiy 5 inches. The voice of 
the males resembles the bleating of sheep. The 
eggs are laid in a surface film, each egg being 
clearly outlined. 

Range: From Virginia to Florida, westward 
to Texas. Habitat: In moist places under 
virtually any kind of cover, even haycocks and 
decaying logs. 

6. CANYON or SPOTTED TOAD, Bufo puncta- 
tus. This toad is iy 5 to 3 inches in size; its 
color varies from greenish tan to red. The call 
is high pitched and birdlike. The eggs are laid 
singly in pools of intermittent streams. This 
toad breeds from April to July. 

Range: South central Texas to Lower Cali- 
fornia and California. Habitat: Desert can- 

7. GREAT PLAINS TOAD, Bufo cognatus. 
These large-bodied, brown, gray, or greenish 
toads measure from 1% to 4 inches. Their call 
is harsh and low pitched. The vocal sac is shaped 
like a sausage stood on end. 

Range: Mostly west of the 10(M meridian, 
from North Dakota southwestward to Mexico 
and eastern California. Habitat: Grazing lands 
in flood plains. 

8. SPADEFOOT TOAD, Bufo compactilis. The 
size of this desert toad is 2 to 3% inches; its 
color is pinkish drab. It breeds in pools or 
even in cattle tanks. Note the expanded sausage- 
like vocal sac of this male. 

Range: Utah and Nevada eastward to Ok- 
lahoma and southward into Mexico. Habitat: 

hammondii. This toad ranges from 1% to 2% 
inches in size. It breeds in temporary pools; 
the tadpoles eat many mosquitoes, and the toads 
eat many tadpoles. It is seldom seen above ground 
except during rains of long duration. The un- 
usual call is plaintive and catlike. 

Range: From North Dakota southward to 
Mexico, and westward to the Pacific coast. 
Habitat: Burrows, which it digs in moist 
ground with its strong, spadelike feet, and into 
which it pushes itself by rocking its body. 

hemiophrys. In size this toad ranges from 2% 
to 3K inches. It has a very prominent heavy, 
horny boss between its eyes and on its snout. 
It may breed in the shallows at the edges of any 
body of fresh water. 

Range: North Dakota to Manitoba. Habi- 
tat: Lakes and stream valleys. 

11 and 12. YOSEMITE TOAD, Bufo canorus, 
male and female. This is the only toad in the 
United States that shows marked difference 
between male and female. The male (No. 11) 
is olive-colored, while the female (No. 12) is 
light gray with many black areas. Its size is 
from 2 to 3 inches. 

Range: Yosemite National Park and cen- 
tral Sierra Nevada at altitudes of 1000 to 
1100 feet. Habitat: Wet meadows and mar* 
gins of streams and lakes. 

Photographs by A. A. and A. H. Wright 



ful jumper and has a slippery body. Its 
eggs are laid in masses of jelly at the bot- 
tom of ponds. 

METHOD The frog may be studied in 
its native situation by the pupils or it 
may be brought to the school and placed 
in an aquarium; however, to make a frog 
aquarium there needs to be a stick or 
stone projecting above the water, for the 
frog likes to spend part of the time en- 
tirely out of water or only partially sub- 

OBSERVATIONS i. Where is the frog 
found? Does it live all its life in the water? 
When found on land how and where does 
it seek to escape? 

2. Compare the form of the frog with 
that of the toad. Describe the frog's skin, 
its color and texture. Compare the skins 
of the two. 

3. Describe the colors and markings of 
the frog on the upper and on the under 
side. How do these protect it from obser- 
vation from above? From below? How do 
we usually discover that we are in the vi- 
cinity of a frog? 

4. Describe the frog's ears, eyes, nos- 
trils, and mouth. 

5. Compare its " hands and feet " with 
those of the toad. Why the difference in 
the hind legs and feet? 

6. How does the frog feel to your hand? 
Is it easy to hold him? How does this 
slipperiness of the frog benefit it? 

7. On what does the frog feed? What 
feeds on it? How does it escape its ene- 

8. What sounds does the frog make? 
Where are the sound-sacs of the leopard 
frog located? How do they look when they 
are inflated? 

9. Is the frog a good swimmer? Is it 
a better jumper than the toad? Why? 

10. Where are the leopard frog's eggs 
laid? How do they look? 

11. Can you tell the frog tadpoles from 
, those of the toad? Which remains longer 

in the tadpole stage? Study the frog tad- 
poles, following the questions given in Les- 
son 44. 

12. What happens to the frog in 


Once on a time there was a pool 
Fringed all about with Rag-leaves cool 
And spotted with cow-lilies garish, 
Of frogs and pouts the ancient parish. 
Aiders the creaking redwings sink on, 
Tussocks that house blithe Bob o' Lin- 

Hedged round the unassailed seclusion, 
Where musfcrats piled their cells Carthu- 

And many a moss-embroidered log, 
The watering-place of summer frog, 
Slept and decayed with patient skill, 
As watering-places sometimes will. 
Now in this Abbey of Theleine, 
Which realized the fairest dream 
That ever dozing bull-frog had, 
Sunned, on a half-sunk lily pad, 
There rose a party with a mission 
To mend the polliwog's condition, 
Who notified the selectmen 
To call a meeting there and then. 
"Some kind of steps," they said, "are 


They don't corne on so fast as we did: 
Let's dock their tails; if that don't make 


Frogs by brevet, the Old One take 'em/ 
That boy, that came the other day 
To dig some flag-root down this way, 
His jack-knife left, and 'tis a sign 
That Heaven approves of our design: 
'T were wicked not to urge the step on, 
When Providence has sent the weapon." 
Old croalcers, deacons of the mire, 
That led the deep batrachian choir, 
" Ukl Uk! Caronkl " with bass that might 
Have left Lablache's out of sight, 
Shook nobby heads, and said " No go! 
You'd better let 'em try to grow: 
Old Doctor Time is slow, but still 
He does know bow to make a pill." 
But vain was all their hoarsest bass, 
Their old experience out of place, 
And spite of croaking and entreating 
The vote was carried in marsh-meeting. 
" Lord knows," protest the polliwogs, 
" We're anxious to be grown-up frogs; 
But don't push in to do the work 
Of Nature till she prove a shirk; 
'Tis not by jumps that she advances, 



But wins her way by circumstances; 
Pray, wait awhile, until you know 
We're so contrived as not to grow; 
Let Nature talce her own direction, 
And she'll absorb our imperfection; 
You mightn't like 'em to appear with, 
But we must have the things to steer 


" No," piped the party of reform, 
" All great results are ta'en by storm; 
Fate holds her best gifts till we show 
We've strength to make her let them go; 
The Providence that works in history, 
And seems to some folks such a mystery. 
Does not creep slowly on, incog., 
But moves by jumps, a mighty frog; 
No more reject the Age's chrism, 
Your queues are an anachronism; 
No more the future's promise mock, 
But lay your tails upon the block, 
Thankful that we the means have voted 

To have you thus to frogs promoted." 
The thing was done, the tails were 


And home each philotadpole hopped, 
In faith rewarded to exult, 
And wait the beautiful result. 
Too soon it came; our pool, so long 
The theme of patriot bull-frog's song, 
Next day was reeking, fit to smother, 
With heads and tails that missed each 


Here snoutless tails, there tailless snouts; 
The only gainers were the pouts. 


From lower to the higher next, 
Not to the top is Nature's text; 
And embryo Good, to reach full stature, 
Absorbs the Evil in its nature. 



The best-known representatives of this 
group are the salamanders of various types. 
Barring accidents, a salamander retains its 
tail throughout life. Salamanders resem- 
ble lizards in shape, and many people 
have incorrectly called them lizards. It 
is not difficult to distinguish them, if 
one bears in mind that the covering 
of the salamander is rather soft and 
somewhat moist, while that of the 
lizard is rather dry and in the form of 

The red-backed salamander lacks the 
amphibian habits usual to the group; it 
lives on land during its entire life. The 
eggs are laid in a small cluster, in a decay- 
ing log or stump; the adult is often to be 
found quite near the egg cluster. On the 

other extreme, the mud puppies and hell- 
benders spend their entire lives in the 
water. They are rarely seen, live chiefly 
under rocks in stream beds, and feed 
chiefly at night. 

The many local forms of amphibians 
offer excellent opportunities for interest- 
ing outdoor studies. Of the tailed am- 
phibians, the newt is considered in detail, 
and pictures of other representative sala- 
manders are shown. 

ration, by Paul G. Howes; Nature by 
Seaside and Wayside, by Mary G. Phil- 
lips and Julia M. Wright, Book 4, Our 
Earth and Its Life; The Pond Book, by 
Walter P. Porter and Einar A. Hansen: 
also, readings on page 170. 


One of the most commonly seen sala- or woodland paths, and since they are 

manders is the newt or eft. After a rain rarely seen except after rain, the wise 

in spring or summer, we see these little people of old declared they rained down, 

orange-red creatures sprawling along roads which was an easy way of explaining their 


A spotted salamander in natural surroundings 

presence. But the newts do not rain down, 
they rain up instead, since if they have 
journeys to make they must needs go forth 
when the ground is damp; otherwise they 
would dry up and die. Thus, the newts 
make a practice of not going out except 
when the ground is rather moist. A closer 
view of the eft shows plenty of peculiari- 
ties in its appearance to interest us. Its 
colors are decidedly gay, the body color 
being orange, ornamented with vermilion 
dots along each side of the back, each red 
dot being usually margined with tiny black 
specks; but the eft is careless about these 
decorations and may have more spots on 
one side than on the other. Besides these 
vermilion dots, it is also adorned with 
black specks here and there, and espe- 
cially along its sides looks as if it had been 
peppered. The newt's greatest beauty lies 
in its eyes; these are black, with elongated 
pupils, almost parallel with the length of 
the head, and bordered above and below 
with bands of golden, shining iris which 
give the eyes a fascinating brilliancy. The 

nostrils are mere pinholes in the end of 
the snout. 

The legs and feet look queerly inade- 
quate for such a long body, since they 
are short and far apart. There are four 
toes on the front feet and five on the 
hind feet, the latter being decidedly 
pudgy. The legs are thinner where they 
join the body and wider toward the feet. 
The eft can move very rapidly with its 
scant equipment of legs. It has a mis- 
leading way of remaining motionless for 
a long time and then darting forward like 
a flash, its long body falling into graceful 
curves as it moves. But it can go very 
slowly when exploring; it then places its 
little hands cautiously and lifts its head as 
high as its short arms will allow, in order 
to take observations. Although it can see 
quite well, yet on an unusual surface, like 
glass, it seems to feel the way by touch- 
ing its lower lip to the surface as if to test 
it. The tail is flattened at the sides and 
is used to twine around objects in time of 
need; and I ara sure it is also used to 



push the eft while crawling, for it curves 
this way and that vigorously, as the feet 
progress, and obviously pushes against the 
ground. Then, too, the tail is an aid when, 
by some chance, the eft is turned over on 
its back, for with its help it can right itself 
speedily. The eft's method of walking is 
interesting; it moves forward one front 
foot and then the hind foot on the other 
side; after a stop for rest, it begins just 
where it left off when it again starts on. 
Its beautiful eyes seem to serve the newt 
well indeed, for I find that, when it sees 
my face approaching the moss jar, it 
climbs promptly over to the other side. 
There are no eyelids for the golden eyes, 
but the eft can pull them back into its 
head and close the slit after them, thus 
making them very safe. 

The eft with whose acquaintance I was 
most favored was not yet mature and was 
afraid of earthworms; but he was very fond 
of plant lice and it was fun to see the 
little creature stalking them. A big rose 
plant louse would be squirming with satis- 
faction as it sucked the juice of the leaf, 
when the eft would catch sight of it and 
become greatly excited, evidently holding 
his breath, since the pulsating throat 
would become rigid. There was a particu- 
larly alert attitude of the whole front part 
of the body and especially of the eyes and 
the head; then the neck would stretch 
out long and thin, and the orange snout 
approach stealthily to within half an inch 
of the smug aphid. Then there would be a 
flash as of lightning, something too swift 
to see coming out of the eft's mouth and 
swooping up the unsuspecting louse. Then 

Red-spotted newt stalking plant lice 

S. C. Bishop 

Giant or California newt, Triturus torosus. 
About ponds and streams from- lower Cali- 
jornia to Alaska this newt may be seen; its 
body is stout and is about six inches long 

there would be a gulp or two and all 
would be over. If the aphid happened to 
be a big one, the eft made visible effort 
to swallow it. Sometimes his ef tship would 
become greatly excited when he first saw 
the plant louse, and he would sneeze and 
snort in a very comical way, like a dog 
eager for game. 

This is the history of this species as 
summarized from Mrs. S. H. Gage's 
charming Story of Little Red Spot. The 
egg is laid in some fresh-water pond or the 
still borders of some stream where there 
is a growth of water weed. The egg, which 
is about the size of a sweet pea seed, is fas- 
tened to a water plant. It is covered with a 
tough but translucent envelope, and has 
at the center a little yellowish globule. In 
a little less than a month the eft hatches, 
but it looks very different from the form 
with which we are most familiar. It has 
gray stripes upon its sides and three tiny 
bunches of red gills on each side, just 
back of its broad head. The keeled tail 
is long and very thin. The newt is an ex- 
pert swimmer and breathes water as does 
a fish. After a time it becomes greenish 
above and buff below, and by the middle 
of August it develops legs and has changed 
its form so that it is able to live upon 
land; it no longer has gills; soon the coat 
changes to the bright orange hue which 
makes the little creature so conspicuous. 
The newt usually keeps hidden among 
moss, or under leaves, or in decaying 
wood, or in other damp and shady places; 
but after a rain, when the whole world is 
damp, it feels confidence enough to go out 
in the open and hunt for food. For about 
two and a half years it lives upon land; 
then it returns to the water. When this 


1 and 2. SPOTTED SALAMANDER, Ambystoma 
maculatum. The adults are 6 inches long or 
more; the body is glistening black with prom- 
inent yellow spots. These, like other salamanders, 
are entirely harmless; they neither bite nor 
scratch. Their egg-masses are deposited during 
early spring, while the water is still very cold, in 
swampy areas or stagnant pools, and are often 
attached to sticks or to submerged parts of plants. 
While the eggs are developing, a greenish color, 
caused by the presence of numerous algae, 
appears in the gelatin of the egg-mass. This 
seems to be peculiar to the egg-mass of this sala- 
mander, and biologists are trying to learn the 
reason for it. 

Range: Locally in central North America 
from Wisconsin and Nova Scotia southward. 
Habitat: Damp dark places during most of 
the year. In spring they migrate to ponds to 

3. RED SALAMANDER, Pseudotriton ruber. 
Adults are about 6 inches long; young adults 
are coral red with irregular black spots; older 
adults are somewhat purplish brown; the eggs, 
laid in autumn, are attached to the underside 
of a stone in a stream. 

Range: Locally from New York to Georgia, 
westward to the Mississippi River. Habitat: 
Under flat stones in shallow water. 

opacum. Adults are about 5 inches long, bluish 
beneath and slaty gray on the back, with about 
14 grayish-white bars. The creature is not likely 
to be mistaken for any other large salamander 
found within its range, because the others are 
marked with yellow. 

Range: Eastern and central North America. 
Habitat: Under flat stones or in burrows in 
the soil. 

5. MUD PUPPY, Necturus rnaculosus. This Range: The central portion of the Missis- 
animal, which looks like a huge salamander, sippi drainage basin. Habitat: Caves. 

Photographs, except Figure 2, by S. C. Bishop; Figure 2 by Charles E. Mohr 

has no scales, and its body is shiny. It does 
not come out on land, 

Range: Eastern and central United States. 
Habitat: Rivers and lakes. 

6. TIGER SALAMANDER, Ambystoma ti- 
grinum. This is a large, dark brown, yellow-* 
splotched salamander. The young, which are 
called Axolotl, may even breed while still re- 
taining their external gills and living in the 

Range: The United States east of the Cas- 

7. SLIMY SALAMANDER, Plethodon glutino- 
sus. Adults are about 5 to 6 inches long. The 
body, which is very sticky, has a ground color of 
black; the speckles vary from white to gray or 
even silver. The belly has a dull lead color which 
may or may not be flecked with white. 

Range: New York to Wisconsin, south to 
Florida and Texas. 

8. SLENDER SALAMANDER, Batrachoseps 
attenuatus. The body of this salamander is 
slender, the legs are small and weak, and the 
tail is long. The color in general is brown, but 
slightly lighter on the back than on the belly 
and sides. 

Range: The Pacific slope from southwestern 
Oregon to California. 

9. CAVE SALAMANDER, Typhlotriton spe- 
Iseus. This inconspicuous salamander has a 
uniformly pale almost while body. The 
eyes are rudimentary and are somewhat con- 
cealed by the skin. 

Range: The Ozark plateau region of Arkan- 
sas, Kansas, and Missouri. Habitat: Caves. 

10. CAVE SALAMANDER, Eurycea lucifuga. 
The back of this salamander is vermilion or 
orange, with irregular dark brown or black 

1 9 2 


impulse comes upon it, it may be far 
from any stream; but it seems to know 
instinctively where to go. After it enters 
the water, it is again transformed in color, 
becoming olive-green above and buff be- 
low, although it still retains the red spots 

i? it 

Anna Stryke 

Early stage of vermilion-spotted newt. Eggs 
of newt attached to water plant 

along the back; and it also retains its pep- 
per-like dots. Its tail develops a keel which 
extends along its back and is somewhat 

The male has the hind legs very large 
and flat; the lighter-colored female has 
more delicate and smaller legs. It is here 
in the water that the efts find their mates 
and finish careers which must surely have 
been hazardous. During its long and var- 
ied life, the eft often sheds its skin like 
the snake; it has a strange habit of swal- 
lowing its cast-off coat. 

by Raymond T. Fuller; also, readings on 
pages 170 and 185. 



LEADING THOUGHT -The newts are 
born in the water and at first have gills. 
Later they live on land and have lungs 
for breathing air; then they go back to the 
water and again develop the power of 
breathing the oxygen contained in water; 
they also develop a keeled tail. 

METHOD The little, orange eft or red- 

spotted salamander may be kept in an 
aquarium which has in it an object, such 
as a stone or a clump of moss, which pro- 
jects above the water. For food it should 
be given small earthworms or leaves cov- 
ered with plant lice. In this way it may be 
studied at leisure. 

OBSERVATIONS i . Look at the eft 
closely. Is it all the same color? How many 
spots upon its back and what colors are 
they? Are there the same number of spots 
on both sides? Are there any spots or idots 
besides these larger ones? How does the 
eft resemble a toad? 

2. Is the head the widest part of the 
body? Describe the eyes, the shape and 
color of the pupil and of the iris. How 
does the eft wink? Do you think it can 
see well? 

3. Can you see the nostrils? How does 
the throat move and why? 

4. Are both pairs of legs the same size? 
How many toes on the front feet? How 
many toes on the hind feet? Does the eft 
toe in with its front feet like a toad? 

5. Does it move more than one foot 
at a time when walking? Does it use the 
feet on the same side in two consecutive 
steps? After it puts forward the right 
front foot what foot follows next? Can it 
move backward? 

6. Is the tail as long as the head and 
body together? Is the tail round or flat at 
the sides? How is it used to help the eft 
when traveling? Does the tail drag or is it 
lifted, or does it push by squirming? 

7. How does the eft act when startled? 
Does it examine its surroundings? Do you 
think it can see and is afraid of you? 

8. Why do we find more of these crea- 
tures during wet weather? Why do people 
think they rain down? 

9. What does the eft eat? How does 
it catch its prey? Does it shed its skin? 
How many kinds of efts have you seen? 

10. From what kind of egg does the 
eft hatch? When is this egg laid? How 
does it look? On what is it fastened? 


Yet when a child and barefoot, I more than once, at morn, 
Have passed, I thought, a whiplash imbraided in the sun ? 
When, stooping to secure it, it wrinkled, and was gone. 


The animals in the reptile group have a 
covering of bony plates or scales. These 
animals vary greatly in size and shape and 
include such forms as snakes, lizards, tur- 
tles, crocodiles, and alligators. They make 
their homes in a great variety of places; 
the alligators, the crocodiles, and some of 
the snakes and turtles live in or near water, 
while many of the snakes and lizards are 
quite at home in desert regions. 

If the teacher could bring herself to 
take as much interest as did Mother Eve 
in that " subtile animal/ 7 as the Bible 
calls the serpent, she might, through such 
interest, enter the paradise of the boyish 
heart instead of losing a paradise of her 
own. How many teachers, who have an 
aversion for snakes, are obliged to teach 
small boys whose pet diversion is cap- 
turing these living ribbons and bringing 
them into the schoolroom stowed away 
not too securely in pockets! In one of the 
suburban Brooklyn schools, boys of this 
stripe sought to frighten their teacher with 
their weird prisoners. But she was equal 
to the occasion, and surprised them by de- 
claring that there were many interesting 
things to be studied about snakes, and 
forthwith sent to the library for books 
which discussed these reptiles; and this 
was the beginning of a nature-study club 
of rare efficiency and enterprise. 

There are abroad in the land many 
erroneous beliefs concerning snakes. Most 
people believe that they are all venomous, 
which is far from true. The rattlesnake 
still holds its own in rocky, mountainous 
places, and the moccasin haunts the bay- 
ous of the southern coast; however, in 
most localities, snakes are not only harm- 
less but are beneficial to the farmer. The 
superstition that if a snake is killed, its 

tail will live until sundown is general 
and has but slender foundation in the fact 
that with snakes, which are lower in their 
nerve-organization than mammals, the 
process of death is a slow one. Some peo- 
ple firmly believe that snakes spring or 
jump from the ground to seize their prey, 
which is quite false since no snake jumps 
clear of the ground as it strikes, nor does 
it spring from a perfect coil. Nor are 

F. Harper 

Alligator, Alligator mississippiensis. Alli- 
gators may reach a length of twelve feet; they 
live in or about rivers and swamps of tropical 
and sub-tropical regions. Their food consists 
chiefly of fish, mammals, and waterfowl. They 
are unique among reptiles in being able to 
produce a loud bellowing noise. In the past, 
alligators have been ruthlessly slaughtered 
and even now need more protection 

snakes slimy; on the contrary, they are 
covered with perfectly dry scales. But the 
most general superstition of all is that a 
snake's thrusting out its tongue is an act 
of animosity; the fact is, the tongue is a 
sense organ and is used as an insect uses its 
feelers or antennae, and the act is also 
supposed to aid the creature in hearing; 
thus when a snake thrusts out its tongue, 
it is simply trying to find out about its 
surroundings and what is going on. 

Snakes are the only creatures able to 
swallow objects larger than themselves. 


F. Harper .and A. A. Wright 

Alligator eggs. More than 30 eggs may be 
laid by one jemale alligator; they are placed 
above water level in a nest of swamp vegeta- 
tion. When hatching, the young alligators are 
about 8 inches long. Turtle eggs, often- laid in 
the same pile of vegetation, are shown in the 

This is rendered possible by the elasticity 
of the body walls, and by the fact that 
snakes have an extra bone hinging the 
upper to the lower jaw, allowing them to 
spread widely; the lower jaw also separates 
at the middle of its front edge and spreads 
apart sidewise. In order to force a creature 
into a " bag " so manifestly too small, a 
special mechanism is needed; the teeth 
supply this by pointing backward, and 
thus assisting in the swallowing. The 
snake moves by literally walking on the 
ends of its ribs, which are connected with 
the crosswise plates on its lower side; each 
of these crosswise plates has the hind edge 
projecting down so that it can hold to an 
object. Thus, the graceful, noiseless prog- 
ress of the snake is brought about by 
many of these crosswise plates worked 
by the movement of the ribs. 

Some species of snakes simply chase 
their prey, striking at it and catching it 
in the open mouth, while others, like the 
pilot black snake, wind themselves about 
their victims and crush them to death. 
Snakes can live a long time without food; 
many instances on record show that they 
have been able to exist a year or more 
without anything to eat. In our northern 
climate they hibernate in winter, going 
to sleep as soon as the weather becomes 
cold and not waking up until spring. As 
snakes grow, they shed their skins; this 
occurs only two or three times a year. 
The crested flycatcher adorns its nest with 
these phantom snakes. 

Trails, by Lillian C. Athey; Animals in the 
Sun, by William W. Robinson; Back- 
yard Exploration, by Paul G. Howes; 
Desert Neighbors, by Edith M. Patch and 
Carroll L. Fenton; Nature by Seaside 
and Wayside, by Mary G. Phillips and 
Julia M. Wright, Book 4, Our Earth and 
Its Life; Our Great Outdoors, Reptiles, 
Amphibians and Fishes, by C. W. G. 
Eifrig; Out-of-Doors A Guide to Na- 
ture, by Paul B. Mann and George T. 
Hastings; The Pond Book, and Fields 
and Fencerows, both by Walter P. Porter 
and Einar A. Hansen; Reptiles and Am- 
phibians, Tli err Habits and Adaptations, 
by Thomas Barbour; Reptiles of North 
America, Snakes of the World, Reptiles 
of the World, The Book of Living Rep- 
tiles, all by Raymond L. Ditmars; Snakes 
Alive and How They Live, by Clifford H. 
Pope; The Stir of Nature, by William 
H. Carr; see also Bibliography. 


A chipmunk, or a sudden-whirring quail, 

Is startled by my step as on I fare. 
A gartersnafee across the dusty trail, 
Glances and is not there. 


Garter snakes can be easily tamed, and 
are ready to meet friendly advances half 
way. A handsome yellow-striped, black 

garter lived for four years beneath our 
porch and was very friendly and unafraid 
of the family. The children of the campus 


Garter snakes 

made it frequent visits., and never seemed 
to be weary of watching it; but the birds 
objected to it very much, although it 
never attempted to reach their nests in 
the vine above. The garter snakes are the 
most common of all, in our northeastern 
states. They vary much in color; the 
ground color may be olive, brown, or 
black, and down the center of the back 
is usually a yellow, green, or whitish stripe, 
usually bordered by a darker band of 
ground-color. On each side is a similar 
stripe, but not so brightly colored; some- 
times the middle stripe and sometimes 
the side stripes are broken into spots or 
absent; the lower side is greenish white or 
yellow. When fully grown this snake is 
two to two and one-half feet in length. 

The garters are likely to congregate in 
numbers in places favorable for hiberna- 
tion, like rocky ledges or stony sidehills. 
Here each snake finds a safe crevice, or 
makes a burrow which sometimes extends 
a yard or more underground. During the 
warm days of Indian summer, these winter 

hermits crawl out in the middle of the 
day and sun themselves, retiring again to 
their hermitages when the air grows chilly 
toward night; and when the cold weather 
arrives, they go to sleep and do not awaken 
until the first warm days of spring; then, 
if the sun shines hot, they crawl out and 
bask in its welcome rays. 

After the warm weather comes, the 
snakes scatter to other localities more fa- 
vorable for finding food, and thus these 
hibernating places are deserted during the 
summer. The banks of streams and the 
edges of woods are places which furnish 
snakes their food, which consists of earth- 
worms, insects, toads, salamanders, frogs, 
etc. The young are born from late July 
to mid September and are about six inches 
long at birth; one mother may have in her 
brood from eleven to fifty snakelings; she 
often stays with them only a few hours. 
There are many stories about the way 
the young ones run down the mother's 
throat in case of attack; but as yet no 
scientist has seen this act or placed it 


A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Common garter snake 
Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis 

on record. The little snakes shift for their 
own food, catching small toads, earth- 
worms, and insects. If it finds food in 
plenty, the garter snake will mature in 
one year. Hawks, crows, skunks, weasels, 
and other predacious animals seem to find 
the garter snake attractive food. 

SUGGESTED READING - Holiday Hill, by 
Edith M. Patch; also, readings on page 


LEADING THOUGHT The garter snake 
is a common and harmless little creature 
and has many interesting habits which are 
worth studying. 

METHOD A garter snake may be cap- 
tured and placed in a box with a glass 
cover and thus studied in detail in the 
schoolroom, but the lesson should begin 
with observations made by the children 
on the snakes in their native haunts. 

OBSERVATIONS - 1 . What are the col- 
ors and markings of your garter snake? 
Do the stripes extend along the head as 
well as the body? How long is it? 

2. Describe its eyes, its ears, its nostrils, 
and its mouth. 

3. If you disturb it how does it act? 
Why does it thrust its tongue out? What 
shape is its tongue? 

4. In what position is the snake when 

it rests? Can you see how it moves? Look 
upon the lower side. Can you see the little 
plates extending crosswise? Do you think 
it moves by moving these plates? Let it 
crawl across your hand, and see if you can 
tell how it moves. 

5. What does the garter snake eat? Did 
you ever see one swallow a toad? A frog? 
Did it take it head first or tail first? 

6. Where does the garter spend the 
winter? How early does it appear in the 

7. At what time of year do you see 
the young snakes? Do the young ones 
run down the throat of the mother for 
safety when attacked? Does the mother 
snake defend her young? 

8. What enemies has the garter snake? 

No life in earth or air or sy; 

The sunbeams, broken silently, 

On the bared rocks around me lie, 

Cold roclcs with half warmed lichens 


And scales of moss; and scarce a yard 
Away, one long strip, yellow-barred. 

Lost in a cleft! Tis but a stride 
To reach it, thrust its roots aside, 
And lift it on thy stick astride! 

Yet stay! That moment is thy grace! 
For round thee, thrilling air and space, 
A chattering terror fills the place! 

A sound as of dry bones that stir, 
In the dead valley! By yon fir 
The locust stops its noon-day whir! 

The wild bird hears; smote with the sound, 

As if by bullet brought to ground 

On broken wing, dips, wheeling round! 

The hare, transfixed, with trembling lip, 
Halts breathless, on pulsating hip, 
And palsied tread, and heels that slip. 

Enough, old friend! 'tis thou. Forget 
My heedless foot, nor longer fret 
The peace with thy grim castanet! 





The grass divides as with a comb,, a spotted shaft is seen, 
And then it closes at your feet, and opens farther on. 


This is the snake which Is said to milk 
cows, a most absurd belief; it would not 
milk a cow if it could, and it could not if 
it would. It has never yet been induced 
to drink milk when in captivity; and if it 
were very thirsty, it could not drink more 
than two teaspoonfuls of milk at most; 
thus in any case, its depredations upon the 
milk supply need not be feared. Its ob- 
ject in frequenting milk houses and sta- 
bles is far other than the milking of cows, 
for it is an inveterate hunter of rats and 
mice and is thus of great benefit to the 
farmer. It is a constrictor, and squeezes 
its prey to death in its coils. 

The ground color of the milk snake is 
pale gray, but it is covered with so many 
brown or dark gray saddle-shaped blotches, 
that they seem rather to form the ground 
color; the lower side is white, marked 
with square black spots and blotches. The 
snake attains a length of two and one-half 
to three feet when fully grown. Although 
it is commonly called the spotted adder, 
it does not belong to the adders at all, 
but to the family of the king snakes. 

During July and August, the mother 
snake lays from seven to twenty eggs; they 
are deposited in loose soil, in moist rub- 
bish, in compost heaps, etc. The egg is a 
symmetrical oval in shape and is about 
one and one-eighth inches long by a half 
inch in diameter. The shell is soft and 
white, like kid leather, and the egg resem- 
bles a puffball. The young hatch nearly 
two months after the eggs are laid; mean- 
while the eggs have increased in size so 
that the snakelings are nearly eight inches 
long when they hatch. The saddle-shaped 
blotches on the young have much red 
in them. The milk snake is not venomous; 
it will sometimes, in defense, try to chew 
the hand of the captor, but the wounds 

it can inflict are very slight and heal 

page 194. 


LEADING THOUGHT The milk snake is 
found around stables where it hunts for 
rats and mice; it never milks the cows. 

METHOD Although the snake acts 
fierce, it is perfectly harmless and may be 
captured in the hands and placed in a 
glass-covered box for a study in the school- 

OBSERVATIONS-!. Where is the milk 
snake found? Why is it called milk snake? 
Look at its mouth and see if you think 
it could possibly suck a cow. See if you 
can get the snake to drink milk. 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Milk make 
Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum 



2. What does it live upon? How does 
it kill its prey? Can the milk snake climb 
a tree? 

3. Where does the mother snake lay 
her eggs? How do the eggs look? How 
large are they? How long are the little 
snakes when they hatch from the egg? 
Are they the same color as the old ones? 

4. Describe carefully the colors and 
markings of the milk snake and explain 
how its colors protect it from observation. 
What are its colors on the underside? 

5. Have you ever seen a snake shed its 
skin? Describe how it was done. How does 
the sloughed-off skin look? What bird usu- 
ally puts snake skins around its nest? 

I have the same objection to killing a 
snake that I have to the killing of any 
other animal, yet the most humane man I 
know never omits to kill one. 

Aug. 5, 1853. 

The mower on the river meadows, 
when lie comes to open his hay these days, 

encounters some overgrown water adder, 
full of young (?) and bold in defense of 
its progeny, and tells a tale when lie comes 
home at night which causes a shudder to 
run through the village how it came at 
him and he ran, and it pursued and over- 
tooJc him, and he transfixed it with a pitch- 
fort and laid it on a cock of hay, but it 
revived and carne at him again. This is the 
story he tells in the shops at evening. The 
big snake is a sort of fabulous animal. It is 
always as big as a man's arm and of in- 
definite length. Nobody knows exactly 
how deadly is its bite but nobody is known 
to have been bitten and recovered. Irish- 
men introduced into these meadows for 
the first time, on seeing a snake, a creature 
which they have seen only in pictures be- 
fore, lay down their scythes and run as if 
it were the Evil One himself and cannot 
be induced to return to their work. They 
sigh for Ireland, where they say there is 
no venomous thing that can hurt you. 



Every boy who goes fishing knows the 
snake found commonly about milldams 
and wharves or on rocks and bushes near 
the water. The teacher will have accom- 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Common water snake 
Natrix sipedon sipedon 

plished a great work, if these boys are 
made to realize that this snake is more 
interesting as a creature for study, than 
as an object to pelt with stones. 

The water snake is a dingy brown in 
color, with cross-bands of brown or reddish 
brown which spread out into blotches at 
the side. Its color is very protective as 
it lies on stones or logs in its favorite atti- 
tude of sunning itself. It is very local in 
its habits, and generally has a favorite 
place for basking and returns to it year 
after year on sunny clays. 

This snake lives mostly upon frogs and 
salamanders and fish; however, it preys 
usually upon fish of small value, so it is of 
little economic importance. It catches its 
victims by chasing and seizing them in 
its jaws. It has a very keen sense of smell 
and probably traces its prey in this man- 
ner, something as a hound follows a fox. 
It is an expert swimmer, usually lifting 
the head a few inches above the water 
when swimming, although it is able to 



dive and remain below the water for a 
short time. 

The water snake is a bluffer, and, when 
cornered, it flattens itself and strikes 
fiercely. But its teeth contain no poison 
and it can inflict only slight and harmless 
wounds. When acting as if it would 
" rather fight than eat," if given a slight 
chance to escape, it will flee to the water 
like a " streak of greased lightning," as 
any boy will assure you. 

The water snake may attain a length of 
about four feet; but the usual size is two 
and one-half to three feet. The young do 
not hatch from eggs, but are born alive 
in August and September; they differ 
much in appearance from their parents 
as they are pale gray in color, with jet- 
black cross-bands. The young often num- 
ber twenty-five to forty and are about eight 
inches long. 

by Raymond T. Fuller; Field Book of 
Ponds and Streams, by Ann H. Morgan; 
also, readings on page 194. 



LEADING THOUGHT The water snake 
haunts the banks of streams because its 
food consists of creatures that live in and 
about water. 

METHOD If water snakes are found in 
the locality, encourage the boys to capture 
one without harming it, and bring it to 
school for observation. However, as the 
water snake is very local in its habits, and 
haunts the same place year after year, it 
will be better nature-study to get the chil- 
dren to observe it in its native surround- 

OBSERVATIONS i. Where is the water 
snake found? How large is the largest one 
you ever saw? 

2. Why does the water snake live near 
water? What is its food? How does it 
catch its prey? 

3. Describe how the water snake swims. 
How far does its head project above 
the water when swimming? How long 
can it stay completely beneath the 

4. Describe the markings and colors 
of the water snake. How do these colors 
protect it from observation? How do the 
young look? 

5. Does each water snake have a favor- 
ite place to which it will usually go to sun 

6. Where do the water snakes spend the 

May 12, 1858. 

Found a large water adder by the edge 
of Farmer's large mudhole, which abounds 
with tadpoles and frogs, on which it was 
probably feeding. It was sunning on the 
bank and would face me and dart its head 
toward me when I tried to drive it from 
the water. It is barred above, but indis- 
tinctly when out of the water, so that it 
appears almost uniformly dark brown, but 
in the water, broad, reddish brown bars are 
seen, very distinctly alternating with very 
dark-brown ones. The head was very flat 
and suddenly broader than the neck be- 
hind. Beneath, it was whitish and reddish 
flesh-color. It was about two inches in 
diameter at the thickest part. The inside 
of its mouth and throat was pink. They 
are the biggest and most formidable-look- 
ing snakes that we have. It was awful to 
see it wind along the bottom of the ditch 
at last, raising wreaths of mud amid the 
tadpoles, to which it must be a very sea- 
serpent. I afterward saw another, running 
under Sam Barrett's grist-mill, the same 
afternoon. He said that he saw a water- 
snake, which he distinguished from a 
black snake, in an apple tree near by, last 
year, with a young robin in its mouth, 
having taken it from the nest. There was 
a cleft or fork in the tree which enabled 
it to ascend. 



1. RIBBON SNAKE, Thamnophis sauritus 
sauritus. This slender , harmless snake feeds 
chiefly upon earthworms and young frogs and 

Range: From Maine, Ontario, and Michi- 
gan to Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. 
Habitat: Swamps and moist places. 

2. CORAL SNAKE, Micrurus fulvius fulvius. 
This beautiful snake is extremely poisonous. 
Few persons are bitten by it, however, for it is 
nocturnal in habit and during the day it hides 
in burrows. Moreover, it does not strike, as 
most snakes do, but bites into the flesh and 
chews. It injects so much venom in that way 
that when it does attack its bite is very dangerous. 
This dangerous coral snake can be easily dis- 
tinguished from certain other snakes, which 
appear to mimic its coloration, by the yellow 
bands which separate its black from its red 
bands. Look out for the snake with the yellow 
bands! Gentle though it may seem, do not play 
with it. 

3. RUBBER BOA, Charina bottse. Often 
spoken of as blind, this boa does have rudi- 
mentary eyes, which are, however, almost use- 

Range: In humid regions from Utah and 
Montana to the Pacific coast. 

4. ROUGH GREEN SNAKE, Opheodrys es- 
tivus. Gentle and harmless, this snake is chiefly 
insectivorous. It can seldom be induced to bite, 
and when it does so, its teeth rarely break the 

Range: From New Jersey south to the Gulf 
of Mexico and west to Missouri and New 
Mexico. Habitat : Trees and bushy places. 

5. TIMBER RATTLER, Crotalus horridus. In 
North America, this rattlesnake is the best 
known and the most widely distributed. It is 
more variable in color than is any other rattler. 
In winter, great numbers hibernate in the same 

Photographs by A. A, 

area, and in early spring, when there is a warm 
day, may crawl out into the sunshine. They 
usually remain near the den and again seek its 
protection if the temperature drops appreciably. 
The food of the timber rattler consists chiefly of 
warm-blooded animals such as birds, rats, mice, 
and rabbits. It is generally 3 to 5 feet long. 

Range: Eastern United States to Mississippi 
Valley states. Habitat: More various than that 
of any other rattler; it is found in both swampy 
and mountainous regions. 

Pituophis catenifer deserticola. This useful 
snake, which feeds chiefly on rodents, is in 
some states protected by law. The length of 
an adult is usually more than 4 feet. 

Range: Southern California to Idaho and 
Washington. Other bull snakes are found from 
British Columbia to Mexico. Habitat: Desert 

NECKED SNAKE, Diadophis punctatus ed~ 
wardsii. The food of this snake shows great 
variety; it includes other small snakes, lizards, 
salamanders, and earthworms. 

Range: Species are found generally over 
southern Canada, the United States, and 
Mexico. Habitat: Under old boards, loose 
stones, or pieces of bark. 

Crotalus cerastes. Its peculiar means of loco- 
motion gives this snake its name: the body is 
thrown forward in a series of large loops, and 
moves at an angle from the direction in which 
the head is pointed. This way of getting over 
the ground seems better adapted than the gait 
of most snakes would be to life in sandy deserts, 
to which the sidewinder's habitat is virtually 
limited. It is known to feed on such animals as 
pocket mice, kangaroo rats, and lizards. 

Range: Lower California to southwest Utah. 

and A. H. Wright 


LONG-HEADED SNAKE, Oxybelis micropthala- 
mus. This gentle, slender snake can produce 
a poisonous bite, which it uses to paralyze its 
prey. It feeds chiefly on lizards and various small 

Range: In the United States, southern 
Arizona. Habitat: Trees. 

2. PILOT BLACK SNAKE, Elaphe obsoleta 
obsoleta. Rats and other small rodents are the 
food of this useful snake. Adults are usually 
5J^ feet long, but have reached a length of 7 and 
8 feet. 

Range: From southern New England west- 
ward to Michigan, southward to Florida and 

3. COPPERHEAD, Agkistrodon mokasen 
mokasen. The copperhead is common in many 
parts of the United States, and is probably 
responsible for more bites than is any other kind 
of snake. Deaths from its bite have been recorded, 
but reports from the Antivenin Institute over a 
period of two years show that although in this 
time more than three hundred persons were 
bitten, there were no fatalities, whether or not 
treatment was given. The food of the copperhead 
consists mainly of insects, birds, small rodents, 
and amphibians. It is rather sluggish in habits, 
and, when molested, usually tries to escape; but 
if it is taken by surprise or cornered, it defends 
itself vigorously. 

Range: Massachusetts to Florida and west- 
ward to Arkansas and Texas. Habitat: The 
copperhead usually inhabits drier ground than 
its relative the moccasin (No. 6). 

SNAKE, Lampropeltis getulus boylii. This 
snake belongs to a great group of king snakes, all 
of which do much good to farmers by destroying 
rodents and many other harmful creatures, in- 
cluding even poisonous snakes. 

Range: Arizona, western Nevada, and Cali- 
fornia. Other species are widely distributed. 

. Photographs by A. 

Habitat: Regions of small streams, especially 
where chaparral is present. 

5. GRAY PILOT SNAKE, Elaphe obsolete 
confinis. The habits of this snake are similar 
to those of the pilot black snake (No. 2). 

Range: The lower Mississippi Valley, South 
Atlantic, and Gulf states. 

Agkistrodon piscivorus. This poisonous snake 
is heavier and larger than the copperhead, since 
it grows from 3 to 5 or even 6 feet in length. The 
name of cottonmouth has been given it because 
of the white appearance of the open mouth. It 
is found in regions of swamps or slow-flowing 
streams, and in sunny hours is often to be seen 
at rest on any object that overhangs the water; 
it stays in such a position that if danger appears 
it can dive into the water. It eats both warm- 
and cold-blooded animals, even including other 
snakes. The young are born alive. 

Range: From southern Virginia to Florida 
and the Gulf states. Habitat: Swampy areas. 

vandenburghi. The bite of this slender, non- 
aggressive snake, which it uses to kill or numb 
the small animals that are its prey, is possibly 
poisonous to man. 

Range: California. Other snakes of this 
group are found in the southwestern United 
States, Mexico, and Central and South Amer- 

simus. When threatened, this harmless snake 
may "play possum"; or it may expand its body, 
flatten its head, and hiss. It seems to feel that 
all dead snakes should lie on their backs; for, if 
turned on its belly when playing dead, it will 
flop over on its back. After a short time, if it is 
not disturbed again, it will turn over and crawl 
away. Because their threatening actions and 
ferocious appearance have led people to con- 
sider them dangerous to man, many of these in- 
offensive snakes have been killed. 

Range : From Florida to Indiana. 

A. and A. H. Wright 

2O 4 



A turtle is at heart a misanthrope; its 
shell is in itself proof of its owner's dis- 
trust of this world. But we need not won- 
der at this misanthropy, if we think for a 
moment of the creatures that lived on 
this earth at the time when turtles first 
appeared. Almost any of us would have 
been glad of a shell in which to retire if 
we had been contemporaries of the smilo 
don and other monsters of earlier geologic 

When the turtle feels safe and walks 
abroad for pleasure, his head projects far 
from the front end of his shell, and the 


A, A. and A. H. Wright 

Mud turtle, Kinosternon subrubrum hip- 
pocrepis, viewed jrom above. Many species 
of mud turtles are found in the eastern, cen- 
tral, and southern United States. The one pic- 
tured is found from Alabama to Texas and 
north to Kansas. When in captivity, mud 
turtles will eat lettuce and meat 

legs, so wide and soft that they look as if 
they had no bones in them, project out at 
the side, while the little, pointed tail 
brings up an undignified rear; but frighten 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Mud turtle viewed from below 

him and at once head, legs, and tail all 
disappear, and even if we turn him over, 
we see nothing but the tip of the nose, 
the claws of the feet and the tail turned 
deftly sidewise. When frightened, he 
hisses threateningly; the noise seems to 
be made while the mouth is shut, and 
the breath emitted through the nostrils. 
The upper shell of the turtle is called 
the carapace and the lower shell, the 
plastron. There is much difference in the 
different species of turtles in the shape of 
the upper shell and the size and shape of 
the lower one. In most species the cara- 
pace is sub-globular but in some it is 
quite flat. The upper shell is grown fast to 
the backbone of the animal, and the 
lower shell to the breastbone. The mark- 



ings and colors of the shell offer excellent 
subjects for drawing. The painted terra- 
pin has a red-mottled border to the shell, 
very ornamental; the wood turtle has a 
shell made up of plates each of which 
is ornamented with concentric ridges; and 
the box turtle has a front and rear trap 
door, which can be pulled up against the 
carapace when the turtle wishes to retire, 
thus covering it entirely. 

The turtle's head is decidedly snakelike. 
Its color differs with different species. The 
wood turtle has a triangular, horny cover- 
ing on the top of the head, in which the 
color and beautiful pattern of the shell 
are repeated; the underparts are brick-red 
with indistinct yellowish lines under the 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Painted turtle, or terrapin, Chrysemys belli 
marginata. The painted turtle pictured is 
found from the Mississippi River eastward; 
but species can be jound anywhere in the 
United States except in deserts and very high 
mountains. This turtle often swims about 
rocks and logs that protrude above the water 

jaw. The eyes are black with a yellowish 
iris ? which somehow gives them a look 
of intelligence. The turtle has no eyelids 
like our own, but has a nictitating mem- 
brane which comes up from below and 
completely covers the eye; if we seize 
the turtle by the head and attempt to 
touch its eyes, we can see the use of this 
eyelid. When the turtle winks, it seems to 
turn the eyeball down against the lower 

The turtle's nostrils are mere pinholes 
in the snout. The mouth is a more or less 
hooked beak, and is armed with cutting 
edges instead of teeth. The constant pul- 
sation in the throat is caused by the tur- 
tle's swallowing air for breathing. 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Chicken turtle, Deirochelys reticularia. 
This turtle is at home on the coastal plain 
from North Carolina to Mississippi. Its high 
shell may reach a length of eight inches; its 
neck is long and snakelike 

The turtle's legs, although so large and 
soft, have bones within them, as the skele- 
ton shows. The claws are long and strong; 
there are five claws on the front and four 
on the hind feet. Some species have a 
distinct web between the toes; in others 
it is less marked, depending upon whether 
the species lives mostly in water or out 
of it. The color of the turtle's body varies 
with the species; the body is covered with 
coarse, rough skin which frequently bears 
many scales or plates. Thus, large bright- 
colored scales are conspicuous on the fore 
legs of the wood turtle, and the tail of 
the snapping turtle bears a saw-toothed 
armor of dorsal plates. 

The enemies of turtles are the larger 
fishes and other turtles. Two turtles 
should never be kept in the same aquar- 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Diamond back terrapin, Malaclemys cen- 
trata. The home of the diamond back is in 
salt marshes from Florida to Massachusetts. 
In captivity it will eat lettuce, oysters, beef, 
chopped clams, or fish. Its flesh is used as 
meat and for making soup 



A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Florida snapper, Chelydra osceola, viewed 
from above. Snappers live in slow-running 
streams, ponds, or marshes; the female often 
goes some distance from her regular home to 
bury her round, white eggs usually about 
two dozen in number. 

ium ? since they eat each other's tails and 
legs with great relish. They feed upon 
insects, small fish, or almost anything soft- 
bodied which they can find in the water; 
they are especially fond of earthworms. 
The species which frequent the land feed 
upon tender vegetation and also eat ber- 
ries. In an aquarium, a turtle should be 
fed earthworms, chopped fresh beef, let- 
tuce leaves, and berries. The wood turtle 
is especially fond of cherries. 

The aquarium should always have in 
it a stone or some other object projecting 
above the water, so that the turtle may 

climb out, if it chooses. In winter, water 
turtles may bury themselves in the ooze 
at the bottom of ponds and streams. The 
land turtles dig themselves into the earth. 
Their eggs have white leathery shells, are 
oblong or round, and are buried by the 
mother in the sand or soil near a stream 
or pond. The long life of turtles is a well- 
authenticated fact; dates carved upon 
their shells show them to have attained 
the age of thirty or forty years. 
The following are common kinds: 
(a) The Snapping Turtle This some- 
times attains a shell fourteen inches long 
and a weight of forty pounds. It is a vicious 


A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Florida snapper viewed from below 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Gopher turtle, Gopherus berlandieri. These 
turtles are related to the huge turtles of the 
Galapagos Islands. The one pictured is found 
in the Rio Grande region; but the range of the 
gopher turtles extends widely through the 
South and the Southwest 

creature and inflicts a severe wound with 
its sharp, hooked beak; it should not be 
used for a nature-study lesson unless the 
specimen is very young. The large alligator 
snapper of the South may attain a weight 
of one hundred pounds. 

(b) The Mud Turtle - The musk tur- 
tle and the common mud turtle both in- 
habit slow streams and ponds; they are 
truly aquatic and only come to shore to 
deposit their eggs. They cannot eat unless 
they are under water, and they seek their 
food in the muddy bottoms. The musk 
turtle, when handled, emits a very strong 
odor; it has on each side of the head two 
broad yellow stripes. The mud turtle has 
no odor. Its head is ornamented with 
greenish yellow spots. 

(c) The Painted Terrapin, or Pond 
Turtle This can be determined by the 


red mottled border of its shell. It makes 
a good pet, if kept in an aquarium by it- 
self, but will destroy other creatures. It 
will eat meat or chopped fish, and is fond 
of earthworms and soft insects. It finds 
its food most readily under water. 

(d) The Spotted Turtle -This has 
the upper shell black with numerous 
round yellow spots upon it. It is common 
in ponds and marshy streams and its fa- 
vorite perch is upon a log with many of 
its companions. It feeds under water, eat- 
ing insect larvae, dead fish, and vegetation. 
It likes fresh lettuce. 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Spotted turtle, Clemmys guttata. The 
range of the spotted turtles extends jrom 
Michigan to Maine and south to Florida. In 
captivity they often become very tame; they 
prefer raw food earthworms, aquatic in- 
sects, ground beef, or fish 

(e) The Wood Terrapin This is our 
most common turtle; it is found in damp 
woods and wet places, since it lives largely 
upon the land. Its upper shell often 
reaches a length of six and one-half inches 
and is made up of many plates, orna- 
mented with concentric ridges. This is 
the turtle upon whose shell people carve 
initials and dates and then set it free. 
All the fleshy parts of this turtle, except 
the top of the head and the limbs, are 
brick-red. It feeds on tender vegetables, 
berries, and insects, but also enjoys 
chopped meat. It makes an interesting 
pet and will soon learn to eat from the 
fingers of its master. 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Eggs of spotted turtle 
Clemmys guttata 

(f) The Box Turtle This is easily 
distinguished from the others, because the 
front and rear portions of the lower shell 
are hinged so that they can be pulled up 
against the upper shell. When this turtle 
is attacked, it draws into the shell and 
closes both front and back doors, and is 
very safe from its enemies. It lives entirely 
upon land and feeds upon berries, tender 
vegetation, and insects. It ? too, in captivity 
will eat chopped meat. It lives to a great 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

A young wood turtle 
Clemmys insculpta 



A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Box turtle, Terrapene major. One or more 
species of box turtle can be found in almost 
any portion of the United States from the 
Rocky Mountains eastward 

(g) The Soft-shelled Turtle These 
are found in streams and canals. The up- 
per shell looks as if it were of one piece 
of soft leather, and resembles a griddle- 
cake. The neck is very long and the 
head particularly snakelike with a piglike 
snout. Although soft-shelled, these turtles 
are far from soft-tempered, and must be 
handled with care. In captivity they must 
be kept in water. 

by Raymond T. Fuller; Field Book of 
Ponds and Streams, by Ann H. Morgan; 
First Lessons in Nature Study, and Holi- 
day Pond, both by Edith M. Patch; Hum- 
phrey: One Hundred Years along the 
Wayside with a Box Turtle, by Marjorie 
Flack; The Spring of trie Year, by Dallas 
Lore Sharp (Turtle Eggs for Agassiz); 
also, readings on page 194. 

A. A. and A. H. Wright 

Soft-shelled turtle, Amyda emoryi. The 
species pictured is found in Texas, Oklahoma, 
and Arkansas; other species may be found 
from Canada south to the Gulf and as jar 
west as Colorado 


LEADING THOUGHT The turtle's shell 
is for the purpose of protecting its owner 
from the attack of enemies. Some turtles 
live upon land and others in water. 

METHOD A turtle of any kind, in the 
schoolroom, is all that is needed to make 
this lesson interesting. 

OBSERVATIONS i . How much can you 
see of the turtle when it is walking? If 

A snapping turtle 

J. T. Lloyd 

you disturb it what does it do? How much 
of it can you see then? Can you see more 
of it from the lower side than from the 
upper? What is the advantage to the tur- 
tle of having such a shell? 

2. Compare the upper shell with the 
lower as follows: How are they shaped 
differently? What is their difference in 
color? Would it be a disadvantage to the 
turtle if the upper shell were as light col- 
ored as the lower? Why? Make a drawing 
of the upper and the lower shell showing 
the shape of the plates of which they are 
composed. Where are the two grown to- 

3. Is the border of the upper shell dif- 
ferent from the central portion in color 
and markings? Is the edge smooth or scal- 



4. How far does the turtle's head pro- 
ject from the front of the shell? What is 
the shape of the head? With what colors 
and pattern is it marked? Describe the 
eyes. How are they protected? How does 
the turtle wink? Can you discover the 
little eyelid which comes up from below 
to cover the eye? 

5. Describe the nose and nostrils. Do 
you think the turtle has a keen sense of 

6. Describe the mouth. Are there any 
teeth? With what does it bite off its food? 
Describe the movement of the throat. 
What is the cause of this constant pulsa- 

7. What is the shape of the leg? How 
is it marked? How many claws on the 
front feet? Are any of the toes webbed? 
On which feet are the webbed toes? Why 

should they be webbed? Describe the way 
a turtle swims. Which feet are used for 

8. Describe the tail. How much can 
be seen from above when the turtle is 
walking? What becomes of it, when the 
turtle withdraws into its shell? 

9. How much of the turtle's body can 
you see? What is its color? Is it rough or 

10. What are the turtle's enemies? 
How does it escape from them? What 
noise does the turtle make when fright- 
ened or angry? 

11. Do all turtles live for part of the 
time in water? What is their food and 
where do they find it? Write an account 
of all the species of turtles that you know. 

12. How do turtle eggs look? Where are 
they laid? How are they hidden? 


1 and 2. BANDED GECKO, Coleonyx brevis. 
The gecko, a male, shown in (1) has lost the 
tip of its fragile tail In (2) another gecko, a 
female, is pictured with a complete tail. An 
interesting fact about these creatures is that 
after the tail has been lost another complete 
tail may later be regenerated. This is char- 
acteristic of lizards. The banded gecko is 2 to 
3 inches long, and is yellow and brown in 
color; its small scales give it a very soft, smooth 

Range: Found only in Texas. Habitat: 
Under stones; it comes out at night. 

3. CHAMELEON, Anolis carolinensis. This 
well-known lizard changes color with tempera- 
ture conditions: it may fade from dark brown 
to pale green in three minutes. Often seen in 
captivity, it can be fed on meal worms and 
flies; it needs water to drink. 

Range: North Carolina and Florida to the 
Rio Grande. 

4. FENCE LIZARD, Sceloporus thayeri. Like 
other lizards, this animal eats insects. It is 
about 5 inches long. 

Ophisaurus ventralis. This long, slender lizard 
is smooth and glassy. It has a ground color of 
olive, black, or brown, with greenish to black 
markings, and a greenish white on the under 
portions of the body. The long tail makes up 
about two-thirds of the total length of the animal. 
An average full-grown specimen is about 24 
inches long, but some individuals may attain a 
length of 3 feet. Like most other lizards, the glass 
snake, if seized, can shed its tail. While its 
astonished pursuer gazes at the tail, the body 
escapes. A new tail begins to grow at once, but 
it seems never to grow quite as large as the orig- 
inal. The glass snake can be distinguished from 
a true snake by an ear opening on each side of 
the head, by numerous rows of small, overlapping 
scales on its belly, and by movable eyelids. 

Range: Virginia to Florida westward to 

Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Mexico. Habitat; 
Chiefly in the ground. 

Gerrhonotus inf emails. Whatever this lizard 
hears must "go in one ear and out the other"; 
for one can look through the ear openings directly 
through the head. These lizards, which are 
about 18 inches long, make interesting pets. 

Range: Southern Texas and northern Mex- 

7. SONORAN SKINK, Eumeces obsoletus. 
Skinks are seldom seen in captivity, for they 
are hard to capture. They are active in day- 
light. The females of some skinks stay with 
their eggs until they hatch. 

Range: Utah and Kansas to northern Mex- 
ico. Other kinds are widely distributed over 
North and Central America; there are many 
in the Old World. 

8. GILA MONSTER, Heloderma suspectum. 
As far as is known, no two gila monsters show 
exactly the same color patterns. Orange, salmon, 
and brown or black are the chief colors, but they 
are variously arranged. This and the closely re- 
lated Mexican beaded lizard are the only poison- 
ous lizards known in the New World. In the 
gila monster the poison glands are situated in 
the lower jaw and the venom flows out around 
the teeth and gums* Therefore, since the teeth 
are above the level of the glands, the poison some- 
times does not enter a wound made by the teeth. 
This lizard is rather sluggish and quite often 
will not bite even if it is given a good chance to 
do so. When it does bite, it holds on with a strong 
grip. In walking it moves slowly and seems 
awkward, but it is active enough to climb trees 
and bushes, evidently in search of bird's eggs, of 
which it is very fond. If it is given plenty of 
drinking water, it can be kept in captivity for 
years on a diet of hen's eggs. 

Range: Arizona and New Mexico. Habitat; 

Photographs by A. A. and A. H. Wright 


1 and 2. REGAL HORNED TOAD, Phrynosoma 
solare. This lizard is called " regal " because 
the row of spines across the sides and rear of 
the head gives the effect of a crown. Its color 
is yellowish, brownish, reddish, or grayish. 
The eggs are shown in No. 2. 

Range: Arizona and Lower California. 
Other kinds are found throughout the western 
and southwestern states and northern Mexico. 

3. HORNED TOAD, Phrynosoma blainvillii. 
These lizards, commonly called (l horned toads" 
are inhabitants of hot, dry regions. In the warmer 
months they live above ground during the hours 
of daylight, and are most active when the heat 
is greatest. Before dark they bury themselves 
in the sand. They hibernate in winter. In color 
they often resemble somewhat the ground where 
they live. A strange habit of the horned toad is 
that cf " squirting blood " from one or both eyes, 
perhaps as a means of self-defense. The blood 
has not been found to be poisonous, and must 
be ejected more to scare than actually to injure 
the enemy. The horned toad can be tamed, and 
is often kept for a pet. All too often, however, its 
owner does not provide enough of the right kind 
of food various kinds of small insects for it, 
and in such circumstances its ability to live for 
a long time without food or water serves only to 
prolong its discomfort. In the Southwest these 
lizards are sometimes stuffed and sold to tourists 
as souvenirs, but some states have passed laws 
prohibiting such sales. 

Range: San Francisco into Lower Cali- 

this picture several kinds of horned toads are 
shown feeding on ants in a pile of sand. They 
did not dash into the pile, but stood about it 
in a circle and caught the ants as they came out. 

5. MALE FENCE LIZARD, Sceloporus spino- 
sus. On either side of the belly the male lizard 

Photographs by A. 

has a large blue or purple spot margined with 
black. Such marks are used to identify many 
male lizards. 

Range: Northern Mexico, New Mexico, and 
Texas to western Florida. Habitat: Trunks of 
standing or fallen trees. 

ARD, Crotaphytus collaris baileyi. This un- 
usual looking animal makes a good pet if enough 
food can be provided for it. It lives chiefly on 
insects and blossoms of various plants, but it 
also has cannibalistic habits, and so must not 
be kept in a cage with other lizards of equal or 
smaller size. It is found about rocks at high 
altitudes. If alarmed or pursued, it runs until it 
can find a crevice in the rocks. It is a swift 
runner and a high jumper, being able to clear 
an object as much as two feet high. In the hottest 
part of the day its colors seem brighter than 
during the cooler hours. 

Range: Southwestern United States and 
Mexico. Habitat: Dry, rocky regions. 

dophorus gularis. These striped lizards are 
active all day under the hottest sun in open 
areas. In the specimen pictured here, note the 
balls of dirt on its toes from running in soft 
dirt after a rain. 

Range: Southwestern United States and 
northern Mexico. A six-line race runner is 
common in the East. 

8. CHUCK-WALLA, Sauromalus obesus. This 
large lizard, 10 to 16 inches long, is a vege- 
tarian. It protects itself by escaping into 
crevices. This specimen ran into a crevice and 
puffed himself up to such a size that it was 
hard to get him out. 

Range: Southwestern United States. Habi- 
tat: Rocky places in desert areas. 

A. and A. H. Wright 


Mammals, in contrast to fishes, am- 
phibians, and reptiles, are warm-blooded 
animals, as are birds. The skin of most 
mammals is more or less hairy, in con- 
trast to the scale-covered fish and the 
feathered birds. The young of most mam- 
mals are born alive, whereas the young of 
birds, fish, amphibians, and some species 

Marthe Ann, one year old. Human beings are 

of reptiles hatch from eggs. After birth 
young mammals breathe by lungs rather 
than by gills as do the fish; for a time they 
are nourished with milk produced by the 

Great variations exist in the mammal 
group. Some of the typical animals in the 
mammal group which illustrate these vari- 
ations are opossum, armadillo, whale, 
deer, buffalo, rabbit, mouse, woodchuck, 
mole, bat, bear, horse, cat, dog, and man. 

Man has always depended a great deal 
on the lower mammal forms; he uses 
them for food, clothing, transportation, 
and numerous other purposes. Many 

forms are domesticated and have served 
as man's obedient servants for many cen- 

Some of the so-called game animals 
have suffered wanton destruction at the 
hands of " civilized man/ 7 but in more 
recent years many laws and regulations 
have been passed to give these animals 
more chances to live. Even more stringent 
laws are needed and rigid enforcement 
must be exacted if wild animals in gen- 
eral are to be expected to increase in 

Trails, by Lillian C. Athey; Animals of 
America, edited by H. E. Anthony; The 
Book about Animals, published by Fred- 
erick Warne and Company; Field Boole 
of North American Mammals, by H. E. 
Anthony; Homes and Habits of Wild 
Animals, by Karl P. Schmidt; Lives of 
Game Animals, by Ernest Thompson 
Seton; Nature by Seaside and Way- 
side, by Mary G. Phillips and Julia M. 
Wright, Book 4, Our Earth and Its Life; 
Our Great Outdoors, Mammals, by C. 
W. G. Eifrig; Our Wild Animals, by 
Edwin L. Moseley; Out of Doors: A 
Guide to Nature, by Paul B. Mann and 
George T. Hastings; The Picture Book of 
Animals, The Second Picture Book of 
Animals, both by Isabel E. Lord; Present 
Day Mammals, by Claude W. Leister; 
The Stir of Nature, by William H. Carr; 
Tracks and Trails, by Leonard Rossell; 
Wild Animals of North America, by E. 
W. Nelson; additional references are to 
be found in the bibliography in the back 
of this Handbook, under various head- 
ings: Mammals, Animals in General, 
Nature-study in General, Textbooks 
and Readers, Nature Poetry, Magazines 
and Periodicals, Books for Parents and 




The Bunnies are a feeble folk whose weakness is their strength. 

To shun a gun a Bun will run to almost any length. OLIVER HERFORD 

It is well for Molly Cotton-tail and her 
family that they have learned to shun 
more than guns, for almost every preda- 
tory animal and bird makes a dinner of 
them on every possible occasion. But de- 
spite these enemies, moreover, with the 
addition of guns, men, and dogs, the 
cotton-tail lives and flourishes in our 
midst. A " Molly " raised two families last 
year in a briar-patch back of our garden 
on the Cornell campus, where dogs of 
many breeds abound; and after each fresh 
fall of snow this winter we have been able 
to trace our bunny neighbors in their 
night wanderings around the house, be- 
neath the spruces and in the orchard. 
The track consists of two long splashes, 
paired, and between and a little behind 
them, two smaller ones; the rabbit uses 
its front feet as a boy uses a vaulting pole 
and lands the hind feet on each side and 
ahead of them; because the bottoms of the 
feet are hairy the print is not clear-cut. 
When the rabbit is not in a hurry it has a 
peculiar lope, but when frightened it 
makes long jumps. The cotton-tails are 
night wanderers and usually remain hid- 
den during the day. In summer, they feed 
on clover or grass or other juicy herbs and 
show a fondness for sweet apples and fresh 
cabbage; in our garden last summer Molly 
was very considerate. She carefully pulled 
all the grass out of the garden-cress bed, 
leaving the salad for our enjoyment. In 
winter, the long, gnawing teeth of the 
cotton-tail are sometimes used to the dam- 
age of fruit trees and nursery stock since 
the rabbits are obliged to feed upon bark 
in order to keep alive. 

The long, strong hind legs and the long 
ears tell the whole bunny story. Ears to 
hear the approach of the enemy, and legs 
to propel the listener by long jumps to 
a safe retreat. The attitude of the ears 

is a good indication of the bunny's state 
of mind; if they are set back to back and 
directed backward, they indicate placidity, 
but a placidity that is always on guard; if 
lifted straight up they signify attention 
and anxiety; if one is bent forward and the 
other backward the meaning is: "Now 
just where did that sound come from? " 

A cotton-tail rabbit 

When the rabbit is running or resting in 
the form, the ears are laid back along the 
neck. When the cotton-tail stands up on 
its haunches with both ears erect, it looks 
very tall indeed. 

Not only are the ears always alert, but 
also the nose; the nostrils are partially 
covered and in order to be always sure of 
getting every scent they wabble con- 
stantly, the split upper lip aiding in this 
performance; when the rabbit is trying 
to get a scent it moves its head up and 
down in a sagacious, apprehensive man- 

The rabbit has an upper and lower 



Verne Morton 

The rabbits' ears are ever alert for any sign 
of danger 

pair of incisors like other rodents, but on 
the upper jaw there is a short incisor be- 
hind each of the large teeth; these are of 
no use now but are inherited from some 
ancestor which found them useful. There 
are at the back of each side of the upper 
jaw six grinding teeth, and five on each 
side of the lower jaw. The split upper 
lip allows the free use of the upper in- 
cisors. The incisors are not only used for 
taking the bark from trees, but also for 
cutting grass and other food. The rabbit 
has a funny way of taking a stem of grass 
or clover at the end and with much wab- 
bling of lips finally taking it in, mean- 
while chewing it with a sidewise motion 
of the jaws. The rabbit's whiskers are val- 
uable as feelers, and are always kept on 
the qui vfve for impressions; when two 
cotton-tails meet each other amicably, 
they rub whiskers together. The eyes are 
large and dark and placed on the bulge 
at the side of the head, so as to command 
the view both ways. Probably a cotton- 
tail winks, but I never caught one in the 

The strong hind legs of the rabbit en- 
able it to make prodigious jumps, of eight 
feet or more; this is a valuable asset to 
an animal that escapes its enemies by 
running. The front feet are short and can- 
not be turned inward like those of the 
squirrel, to hold food. There are five toes 

on the front feet, and four on the hind 
feet; the hair on the bottom of the feet 
is a protection, much .needed by an ani- 
mal which sits for long periods upon the 
snow. When sleeping, the rabbit folds the 
front paws under and rests on the entire 
hind foot, with the knee bent, ready for a 
spring at the slightest alarm; when awake, 
it rests on the hind feet and front toes; and 
when it wishes to see if the coast is clear, 
it rises on its hind feet, with front paws 

The cotton-tail has a color well calcu- 
lated to protect it from observation; it is 
brownish-gray on the back and a little 
lighter along the sides, grayish under the 
chin and whitish below; the ears are edged 
with black, and the tail when raised shows 
a large, white fluff at the rear. The gen- 
eral color of the rabbit fits in with nat- 
ural surroundings; since the cotton-tail 
often escapes its enemies by " freezing," 
this color makes the scheme work well, 
I once saw a marsh hare, on a stone in 
a brook, " freezing " most successfully. I 
could hardly believe that a living thing 
could seem so much like a stone; only its 
bright eyes revealed it to us. 

The rabbit cleans itself in amusing 
ways. It shakes its feet one at a time 
with great vigor and rapidity to get off 
the dirt and then licks them clean. It 
washes its face with both front paws at 
once. It scratches its ear with the hind 
foot, and pushes it forward so that it can 
be licked; it takes hold of its fur with its 
front feet to pull it around within reach 
of the tongue. 

The cotton-tail does not dig a burrow, 

A Dutch rabbit and Belgian hares 



but sometimes occupies the deserted bur- 
row of a woodchuck or skunk. Its nest 
is called a " form/' which simply means 
a place beneath a cover of grass or briars, 
where the grass is beaten down or eaten 
out for a space large enough for the ani- 
mal to sit. The mother prepares a shal- 
low excavation in which she makes a soft 
bed for the young, using grass and her 
own hair for the purpose; and she con- 
structs a coarse felted coverlet, under 
which she tucks her babies with care 
every time she leaves them. Young rab- 
bits are blind at first, but when about 
three weeks old are sufficiently grown to 
run quite rapidly. Although there may be 
five or six in a litter, yet there are so many 
enemies that only a few escape. 

Fox, mink, weasel, hawk, owl, snake, 
and occasionally red squirrel all relish the 
young cotton-tail if they can get it. Noth- 
ing but its runways through the briars can 
save it. These roads wind in and out and 
across, twisting and turning perplexingly; 
they are made by cutting off the grass 
stems, and are just wide enough for the 
rabbit's body. However, a rabbit has 
weapons and can fight if necessary; it leaps 
over its enemy, kicking it on the back 
fiercely with its great hind feet. Mr. Seton 
tells of this way of conquering the black 
snake, and Mr. Sharp saw a cat completely 
vanquished by the same method. Mr. E. 
W. Cleeves told me of a Belgian doe 
which showed her enmity to cats in a 
peculiar way. She would run after any cats 
that came in sight, butting them like a billy 
goat. The cats soon learned her tricks, and 
would climb a tree as soon as they caught 
sight of her. The rabbit can also bite, and 
when two males are fighting, they bite 
each other savagely. The rabbit's sound of 
defiance is thumping the ground with the 
strong hind foot. Some have declared that 
the front feet are used also for stamping; 
although I have heard this indignant 
thumping more than once, I could not see 
the process. The cotton-tail and the com- 
mon domestic rabbit are true rabbits. The 
jack rabbit is a true hare. 

Not the least of tributes to the rabbit's 
sagacity are the Negro folk stories told 

"by Uncle Remus, wherein Brer Rabbit, 
although often in trouble, is really the 
most clever of all the animals. I have 
often thought when I have seen the tac- 
tics which rabbits have adopted to escape 
dogs, that we in the North have under- 
rated the cleverness of this timid animal. 
In one instance at least that came under 
our observation, a cotton-tail led a dog 
to the verge of a precipice, then doubled 

Rabbits playing in the moonlight 

back to safety, while the dog went over, 
landing on the rocks nearly three hundred 
feet below. 

An interesting relative of the cotton- 
tail is the varying hare or snow-shoe rabbit 
that lives in the wooded regions of north- 
eastern North America. Of all animals he 
is one of the most defenseless; foxes, 
mink, and other flesh-eating inhabitants 
of the woods find him an easy prey. He has 
not even a burrow to flee to when pur- 
sued by his enemies. 

He passes the day half asleep and mo- 
tionless beneath the sheltering branches 
of a low fir tree or in a dense thicket. With 
the coming of night he starts off in search 
of food. 

He has one important advantage over 
his enemies: twice each year his heavy 
coat of fur is shed. In the summer the 
coat is a reddish brown that so blends 
with his surroundings that he is hardly 
noticeable; in the winter it is perfectly 



white so that against a background of 
snow he is nearly invisible. 

by James G. Lawson; Holiday Hill, by 
Edith M. Patch; Mother Nature Series, 
by Fannie W. Dunn and Eleanor Trox- 
ell, Book i, Baby Animals; The Museum 
Comes to Life, by Maribelle Cormack 
and William P. Alexander; Our Backdoor 
Neighbors, by Frank C. Pellett; The Pet 
Boole, by Anna B. Cornstock; Wild Ani- 
mals I Have Known, or Lobo r Rag and 
Vixen, both by Ernest Thompson Seton; 
also, readings on page 214. 


LEADING THOUGHT The cotton-tail 
thrives amid civilization; its color protects 
it from sight; its long ears give it warning 
of the approach of danger; and its long 
legs enable it to run by swift, long leaps. 
It feeds upon grasses, clover, vegetables, 
and other herbs. 

METHOD This study may be begun 
in the winter, when the rabbit tracks can 
be observed and the haunts of the cotton- 
tail discovered. If caught in a box trap, 
the cotton-tail will become tame if prop- 
erly fed and cared for, and may thus be 
studied at close range. The cage I have 
used for rabbits thus caught is made of 
wire screen nailed to a frame, making a 
wire-covered box two feet high and two or 
three feet square, with a door at one side 
and no bottom. It should be placed upon 
oilcloth or linoleum, and thus may be 
moved to another carpet when the floor 
needs cleaning. If it is impossible to study 
the cotton-tail, the domestic rabbit may 
be used instead. 

OBSERVATIONS i. What sort of tracks 
does the cotton-tail make in the snow? 
Describe and sketch them. Where do you 
find these tracks? How do you know 
which way the rabbit was going? Follow 
the track and see if you can find where 
the rabbit went. When were these tracks 
made, by night or by day? What does 
the rabbit do during the day? What does 
it find to eat during the winter? How are 

its feet protected so that they do not 
freeze in the snow? 

2. What are the two most noticeable 
peculiarities of the rabbit? Of what use 
are such large ears? How are the ears held 
when the rabbit is resting? When star- 
tled? When not quite certain about the 
direction of the noise? Explain the rea- 
sons for these attitudes. When the rabbit 
wishes to make an observation to see if 
there is danger coming, what does it do? 
How does it hold its ears then? How are 
the ears held when the animal is running? 

3. Do you think the rabbit has a keen 
sense of smell? Describe the movements 
of the nostrils and explain the reason. 
How does it move its head to be sure of 
getting the scent? 

4. What peculiarity is there in the up- 
per lip? How would this be an aid to the 
rabbit when gnawing? Describe the teeth: 
how do these differ from those of the 
mouse or squirrel? Of what advantage are 
the gnawing teeth to the rabbit? How 
does it eat a stem of grass? Note the rab- 
bit's whiskers. What do you think they 
are used for? 

5. Describe the eyes. How are they 
placed so that the rabbit can see forward 
and backward? Do you think that it sleeps 
with its eyes open? Does it wink? 

6. Why is it advantageous to the rab- 
bit to have such long, strong hind legs? 
Compare them in size with the front legs. 
Compare the front and hind feet. How 
many toes on each? How are the bottoms 
of the feet protected? Are the front feet 
ever used for holding food like the squir- 
rel's? In what position are the legs when 
the rabbit is resting? When it is standing? 
When it is lifted up for observation? 

7. How does the cotton-tail escape be- 
ing seen? Describe its coat. Of what use is 
the white fluff beneath the tail? Have you 
ever seen a wild rabbit " freeze "? What 
is meant by " freezing " and what is the 
use of it? 

8. In making its toilet how does the 
rabbit clean its face, ears, feet, and fur? 

9. What do the cotton-tails feed upon 
during the summer? During the winter? 
Do they ever do much damage? 



10. Describe the cotton-tail's nest. 
What is it called? Does it ever burrow in 
the ground? Does it ever use a second- 
hand burrow? Describe the nest made for 
the young by the mother. Of what is the 
bed composed? Of what is the coverlet 
made? What is the special use of the 
coverlet? How do the young cotton-tails 
look? How old are they before they are 
able to take care of themselves? 

11. What are the cotton-tail's enemies? 
How does it escape them? Have you ever 
seen the rabbit roads in a briar-patch? 
Do you think that a dog or fox could fol- 
low them? Do rabbits ever fight their ene- 

mies? If so, how? How do they show 
anger? Do they stamp with the front or 
the hind foot? 

12. Tell how the cotton-tail differs in 
looks and habits from the common tame 
rabbit. How do the latter dig their bur- 
rows? How many breeds of tame rabbits 
do you kno\v? 

13. Write or tell stories on the follow- 
ing topics: " A Cotton-tail's Story of 
Its Own Life until It Is a Year Old "; 
" The Jack Rabbit of the West "; " The 
Habits of the White Rabbit or Varying 
Hare "; " The Rabbit in Uncle Remus' 

Silas Lottridge 

Winter lodge of muskrats 


Having finished this first course of big-neclc clams, they were joined by a third 
muskrat, and, together, they filed over the bank and down into the meadow. Shortly 
two of them returned with great mouthfuls of the mud-bleached ends of calamus- 
blades. Then followed the washing. 

They dropped their loads upon the plank, took up the stalks, pulled the blades apart, 
and soused them up and down in the water, rubbing them with their paws until they 
were as clean and white as the whitest celery one ever ate. What a dainty picture/ 
Two little brown creatures, humped on the edge of a plank, washing calamus in 
moonlit water/ DALLAS LORE SHARP 

Tracking is a part of the education of 
every boy who aspires to a knowledge of 
wood lore; and a boy with this accom- 

plishment is sure to be looked upon with 
great admiration by other boys less 
skilled in the interpretation of that writ- 



The Muskrat 

Silas Lottridge 

ing made by small feet on the soft snow 
or on the mud of stream margins. To 
such a boy, the track of the muskrat is 
well known and very easily recognized. 

The muskrat is essentially a water ani- 
mal, and therefore its tracks are to be 
looked for along the edges of ponds, 
streams, or in marshes. Whether the 
tracks are made by walking or jumping 
depends upon the depth of the snow or 
mud; if it is deep, the animal jumps, but 
in shallow snow or mud it simply runs 
along. The tracks show the front feet to 
be smaller than the hind ones. The musk- 
rat track is, however, characterized by the 
tail imprint. When the creature jumps 
through the snow, the mark of the tail 
follows the paired imprints of the feet; 
when it walks, there is a continuous line 
made by this strong, naked tail. This dis- 
tinguishes the track of the muskrat from 
that of the mink, as the bushy tail of the 
latter does not make so distinct a mark. 
Furthermore the claws of the feet show 
distinctly in a muskrat track; those of 
the mink do not. Measuring the track is 
a simple device for making the pupils 
note its size and shape more carefully. 
The tracks may be looked for during the 
thaws of March or February, when the 

muskrats come out of the water to seek 

In appearance the muskrat is peculiar. 
The body is usually about a foot in length 
and the tail about eight inches. The body 
is stout and thickset, the head is rounded 
and looks like that of a giant meadow 
mouse; the eyes are black and shining; 
the ears are short and close to the head; 
the teeth, like those of other rodents, 
consist of a pair of front teeth on each 
jaw, then a long, bare space, and then four 
grinders on each side. There are long 
sensitive hairs about the nose and mouth, 
like the whiskers of mice. 

The muskrat's hind legs are much 
larger and stronger than the front ones; 
the hind feet are likewise much longer 
than the front feet and have a web be- 
tween the toes; there are also stiff hairs 
which fill the space between the toes 
outside the web, thus making this large 
hind foot an excellent swimming organ. 
The front toes are not webbed and are 
used for digging. The claws are long, stout, 
and sharp. The tail is long, stout, and flat- 
tened at the sides; it has little or no fur 
upon it but is covered with scales; it is 
used as a scull and also as a rudder when 
the muskrat is swimming. 

The muskrat' s outer coat consists of 
long, rather coarse hairs; its under coat 
is of fur, very thick and fine, and although 
short, it forms a waterproof protection for 
the body of the animal. In color, the fur 
is dark brown above with a darker streak 
along the middle of the back; beneath, 
the body is grayish, changing to whitish 
on the throat and lips, with a brown spot 
on the chin. In preparing the pelts for 
commercial use, the long hairs are some- 

A muskrat' s summer home, drawn by A. 
MacKinnon, a boy of thirteen years 



times plucked out leaving the soft, fine 
under coat, which is often dyed black 
and sold under the name of "" Hudson 

The muskrat is far better fitted by form 
for life in the water than upon the land. 
Since it is heavy-bodied and short-legged 
it cannot run rapidly, but its strong, 
webbed hind feet are most efficient oars, 
and it swims rapidly and easily; for rud- 
der and propeller the strong, flattened 
tail serves admirably, while the fine fur 
next the body is so perfectly waterproof 
that, however much the muskrat swims 
or dives, it is never wet. It is a skillful 
diver and can stay under water for several 
minutes; when swimming, its nose and 
sometimes the head and the tip of the 
tail appear on the surface of the water. 

The food of muskrats is largely roots, 
especially those of the sweet flag and the 
yellow lily. Muskrats also feed on other 
aquatic plants and are fond of the fresh- 
water shell-fish. Mr. Sharp tells us, in one 
of his delightful stories, how the musk- 
rats wash their food by sousing it up and 
down in water many times before eating 
it. Often, a muskrat chooses some special 
place upon the shore which it uses for a 
dining room, bringing there and eating 
pieces of lily root or fresh-water clams, 
and leaving the debris to show where it 
habitually dines. It does most of its hunt- 
ing for food at night, although sometimes 

Frank H. Steinicke 

A beaver lodge in winter. In the foreground 
is the " air hole! 3 In general this home looks 
like that of the muskrat, but it is larger and is 
made of coarser materials 

National Parks Bureau, Dominion of Canada 

Adult Beaver. The habits of beavers some- 
what resemble those of muskrats. Beavers 
may weigh from 40 to 60 pounds and reach 
a length of 40 inches. In North America they 
range from Hudson Bay and Alaska south 
into Mexico in the West and the southern 
Alleghenies in the East 

it may be seen thus employed during the 

The winter lodge of the muskrat is a 
most interesting structure. A foundation 
of tussocks of rushes, in a stream or shal- 
low pond, is built upon with reeds, mak- 
ing a rather regular dome which may be 
nearly two or three feet high; or, if many- 
chambered, it may be a grand affair of 
four or five feet elevation; but it always 
looks so much like a natural hummock 
that the eye of the uninitiated never re- 
gards it as a habitation. Beneath this 
dome and above the water line is a snug, 
covered chamber carpeted with a soft bed 
of leaves and moss, which has a passage 
leading down into the water below, and 
in some instances an air-hole. In these 
cabins, closely cuddled together, three or 
four in a chamber, the muskrats pass the 
winter. After the pond is frozen they are 
safe from their enemies except the mink 
and are always able to go down into the 
water and feed upon the roots of water 
plants. These cabins are sometimes built 
in the low, drooping branches of willows 
or on other objects. 

Whether the muskrat builds itself a 
winter lodge or not depends upon the 
nature of the shore which it inhabits; if 
it is a place particularly Stted for burrows, 
then a burrow will be used as a winter 


retreat; but if the banks are shallow, the 
muskrats unite in building cabins. The 
main entrance to the muskrat burrow is 
usually below the surface of the water, 
the burrow slanting upward and leading 
to a nest well lined, which is above the 
reach of high water; there is also often a 

National Parks Bureau, Dominion of Canada 

Young beavers feeding in the shallow water 
near the lower edge of a beaver dam 

passage, with a hidden entrance, leading 
out to dry land. 

The flesh of the muskrat is delicious, 
and therefore the animal has many ene- 
mies; foxes, weasels, dogs, minks, and also 
hawks and owls prey upon it. It is, in- 
deed, a good human food. It escapes the 
sight of its enemies as does the mouse, 
by having inconspicuous fur; when dis- 
covered, it escapes its enemies by swim- 
ming, although when cornered it is cou- 
rageous and fights fiercely, using its strong 
incisors as weapons. In winter, it dwells 
in safety when the friendly ice protects 
it from all its enemies except the mink; 
but it is exposed to great danger when 
the streams break up in spring, for it is 
then often driven from its cabin by floods, 
and preyed upon while thus helplessly 

It is called muskrat because of the odor, 
somewhat resembling musk, which it ex- 
cretes from two glands on the lower side 
of -the body between the hind legs; these 
glands may be seen when the skin is re- 

moved, which is the too common plight 
of this poor creature, since it is hunted 
mercilessly for its pelt. 

The little muskrats are bom in April 
and there are usually from three to seven 
in a litter. Another litter may be produced 
in June or July and a third in August or 
September. It is only thus, by rearing 
large families often, that the muskrats are 
able to hold their own against the hunters 
and trappers and their natural enemies. 

Worlc and Its Ways, by Edward R. War- 
ren; Beaver Pioneers, by Wendell and 
Lucie Chapman; The Fall of the Year, 
and Winter, both by Dallas L. Sharp; also, 
readings on page 214. 


LEADING THOUGHT - The muskrat, 
while a true rodent, is fitted for life in 
the water more than for life upon the 
land. Its hind feet are webbed for use as 
oars and its tail is used as a rudder. It 
builds lodges of cattails and rushes in 
which it spends the winter. 

METHOD It might be well to begin 
this work by asking for observations on 
the tracks of the muskrat which may be 
found about the edges of almost any 
creek, pond, or marsh. If there are musk- 
rat lodges in the region they should be 
visited and described. For studying the 
muskrat's form a live muskrat in captivity 
is almost necessary. The pupils can thus 
study it at leisure although they should 
not be allowed to handle the creature as 
it inflicts very severe wounds and is never 
willing to be handled. If a live muskrat 
cannot be obtained, perhaps some hunter 
in the neighborhood will supply a dead 
one for this observation lesson. 

While studying the muskrat the chil- 
dren should read all the stories of beavers 
which are available, as the two animals 
are very much alike in their habits. 

OBSERVATIONS i . In what locality 
have you discovered the tracks of the 
muskrat? Describe its general appearance. 
Measure the muskrat's track as follows: 



(a) width and length of the print of one 
foot; (b) the width between the prints 
of the two hind feet; (c) the length be- 
tween the prints made by the hind feet in 
several successive steps or jumps. 

2. Was the muskrafs track made when 
the animal was jumping or walking? Can 
you see in it a difference in the size of 
the front and hind feet? Judging from 
the track, where do you think the musk- 
rat came from? What do you think it was 
hunting for? 

3. What mark does the tail make in 
the snow or mud? Judging by its imprint, 
should you think the niuskraf s tail was 
long or short, bare or brushy, slender or 

4. How long is the largest muskrat you 
'3ver saw? How much of the whole length 
is tail? Is the general shape of the body 
short and heavy or long and slender? 

5. Describe the muskrat 7 s eyes, ears, 
and teeth. For what are the teeth espe- 
cially fitted? Has the muskrat whiskers 
like mice and rats? 

6. Compare the front and hind legs as 
to size and shape. Is there a web between 
the toes of the hind feet? What does 
this indicate? Do you think that the 
muskrat is a good swimmer? 

7. Describe the muskrat fur. Compare 
the outer and under coat. What is its 
color above and below? What is the name 
of muskrat fur in the shops? 

8. Describe the tail. What is its cover- 
ing? How is it flattened? What do you 
think this strong, flattened tail is used 

9. Do you think the muskrat is better 
fitted to live in the water than on land? 
How is it fitted to live in the water in the 
following particulars: Feet? Tail? Fur? 

10. How much of the muskrat can you 
see when it is swimming? How long can 
it stay under water when diving? 

11. What is the food of the muskrat? 
Where does it find it? How does it pre- 
pare the food for eating? Does it seek 
its food during the night or day? Have you 
ever observed the muskraf s dining room? 
If so, describe it. 

12. Describe the structure of the musk- 

rat's winter lodge, or cabin, in the follow- 
ing particulars: What is its size? Where 
built? Of what material? How many 
rooms in it? Are these rooms above or be- 
low the water level? Of what is the bed 
made? How is it arranged so that the en- 
trance is not closed by the ice? Is such a 
home built by one or more muskrats? How 
many live within it? Do the muskrats al- 
ways build these winter cabins? What is 
the character of the shores where they are 

13. Describe the muskrat's burrow in 
the bank in the following particulars: Is 
the entrance above or below water? 
Where and how is the nest made? Is it 
ventilated? Does it have a back door lead- 
ing out upon the land? 

14. What are the muskrat's enemies? 
How does it escape them? How does it 
fight? Is it a courageous animal? How does 
the muskrat give warning to its fellows 
when it perceives danger? At what time 
of year is it comparatively safe? At what 
time is it exposed to greatest danger? 

15. Why is this animal called muskrat? 
Compare the habits of muskrats with 

Leonard K. Beyer 

Trees felled by beavers. Unlike muskrats, 
beavers fell trees. They have cut these birches 
either to use the bark for food or the trunks 
jor reinforcement of a dam. In the back- 
ground, note the area covered by water held 
by a beaver dam 

those of beavers and write an English 
theme upon the similarity of the two. 

16. At what time of year do you find 
the young muskrats? How many in a 


Nature Photography around the Year, Percy A. Morris, 
D. Appleton-Century Co., Inc. 


Somewhere in the darkness a clock strikes two; 
And there is no sound in the sad old house, 
But the long veranda dripping with dew, 
And in the wainscot a mouse. BRET HARTE 

Were mouse-gray a less inconspicuous 
color, there would be fewer mice; when 
a mouse is running along the floor, it is 
hardly discernible, it looks so like a flit- 
ting shadow; if it were black or white or 
any other color, it would be more often 
seen and destroyed. It has been very 
closely associated with man; as a result 
of this fact the species has been able to 
spread over the world. 

At first glance one wonders what pos- 
sible use a mouse can make of a tail which 
is as long as its body, but a little careful 
observation will reveal the secret. The tail 
is covered with transverse ridges and is 
bare save for sparse hairs, except toward 
the tip. Dr. Ida Revel ey first called my 
attention to the fact that the house mouse 
uses its tail in climbing. I verified this in- 
teresting observation, and found that my 

mouse used the tail for aid when climbing 
a string. He would go up the string hand 
over hand like a sailor, and then in trying 
to stretch to the edge of his jar, he in- 
variably wound his tail about the string 
two or three times, and hanging to the 
string with the hind feet and tail, would 
reach far out with his head and front feet. 
Also, when clinging to the edge of the 
cover of the jar, he invariably used his 
tail as a brace against the side of the glass, 
so that it pressed hard for more than half 
its length. Undoubtedly the tail is of great 
service in climbing up the sides of walls. 
The tail is also of some use when the 
mouse jumps directly upward. The hind 
legs are very much longer and stronger 
than the front legs. The hind feet are also 
much longer and larger than the front 
feet; and although the mouse, when it 



makes its remarkable jumps, depends 
upon its strong hind legs, I am sure that 
often the tail is used as a brace to guide 
and assist the leap. The feet are free from 
hairs but are downy; the hind foot has 
three front toes, a long toe behind on the 
outside and a short one on the inside. 
The claws are fairly long and very sharp 
so that they are able to cling to almost 
anything but glass. When exploring, a 
mouse stands on its hind feet, folding its 
little front paws under its chin while it 
reaches up ready to catch anything in 
sight; it can stretch up to an amazing 
height. It feeds upon almost anything that 
people like to eat and, when eating, fre- 
quently holds its food in its front paws 
like a squirrel. 

The thin, velvety ears are flaring cornu- 
copias for taking in sound; the large, 
rounded outer ear can be moved forward 
or back to test the direction of the noise. 
The eyes are like shining, black beads; 
and if a mouse can wink, it does it so 
rapidly as not to be discernible. The nose 
is long, inquisitive, and always sniffing 
for new impressions. The whiskers are 
delicate and probably sensitive. The 
mouth is furnished with two long, curved 
gnawing teeth at the front of each jaw, 
then a bare space, and then four grinding 
teeth on each side, above and below, like 
the teeth of woodchucks and other ro- 
dents. The gnawing teeth are very strong 
and enable the mouse to gnaw through 
board partitions and other obstacles. 

The energy with which the mouse 
cleans itself is inspiring to behold. It 
nibbles its fur and licks it with fervor, 
reaching around so as to get at it from 
behind, and taking hold with its little 
hands to hold firm while it cleans. When 
washing its face and head, it uses both 
front feet, licking them clean and rub- 
bing them both simultaneously from be- 
hind the ears down over the face. It takes 
its hind foot in both front feet and nib- 
bles and licks it. It scratches the back of 
its head with its hind foot. 

Young mice are small, downy, pink, and 
blind when born. The mother makes for 
them a nice, soft nest of pieces of cloth, 

paper, grass, or whatever is at hand; the 
nest is round like a ball and at its center 
is nestled the family. Mice living in 
houses have runways between the plaster 
and the outside wall, or between ceiling 
and floor. In winter they live on what 
food they can find, and upon flies or other 
insects hibernating in our houses. The 
house mice sometimes live under stacks 
of corn or grain in the fields, but usually 
confine themselves to houses or barns. 

Verne Morton 

Young field mice, blind, pink, and hairless 

They are thirsty little fellows and they 
like to make their nests within easy reach 
of water. 

Our house mice came from ancestors 
which lived in Asia originally; they have 
always been great travelers and they have 
followed men wherever they have gone, 
over the world. They came to America on 
ships with the first explorers and the Pil- 
grim fathers. They now travel back and 
forth, crossing the ocean in ships of all 
sorts. They also travel across the continent 
on trains. Wherever our food is carried 
they go; and the mouse which you see in 
your room one day may be a thousand 
miles away within a week. They are clever 
creatures, and learn quickly to connect 
cause and effect. For two years I was in an 
office in Washington, and while there I 
observed that as soon as the bell rang for 
noon, the mice would appear instantly, 
hunting wastebaskets for scraps of lunch. 
They had learned to connect the sound of 
the bell with food. 



Anna Stryke 

A white-footed or deer mouse may use an 
old bird's nest for its home 

Of all our wild mice, the white-footed 
or deer mouse is the most interesting 
and attractive. It is found almost exclu- 
sively in woods and is quite different in 
appearance from other mice. Its ears are 
very large; its fur is fine and beautiful and 
a most delicate gray in color. It is white 
beneath the head and under the sides of 
the body. The feet are pinkish, the front 
paws have short thumbs, while the hind 
feet are very much longer and have a long 
thumb which looks like an elfin hand in 
a gray-white silk glove. On the bottom of 
the feet are callous spots which are pink 
and serve as foot pads. This mouse makes 
its nest in hollow trees and stores nuts 
for winter use. We once found two quarts 
of shelled beechnuts in such a nest. It 
also likes the hips of the wild rose and 
many kinds of berries; it sometimes makes 
its home in a bird's nest, which it roofs 
over to suit itself. The young mice are 
usually carried in the mother's mouth, 
one at a time. As an inhabitant of sum- 
mer cottages, white-foot is cunning and 
mischievous; it pulls cotton out of quilts, 
takes covers from jars, and as an explorer 
is equal to the squirrel. I once tried to 
rear some young deer mice by feeding 
them warm milk with a pipette; although 
their eyes were not open, they invariably 
washed their faces after each meal, show- 
ing that neatness was bred in the bone. 
This mouse has a musical voice and often 
chirps as sweetly as a bird. Like the house 
mouse it is more active at night. 

The meadow mouse is the one that 
makes its runways under the snow, mak- 
ing strange corrugated patterns over the 

ground which attract our attention in 
spring. It has a heavy body, short legs, 
short ears, and a short tail. It is brownish 
or blackish in color. It sometimes digs 
burrows straight into the ground, but 
more often makes its nest in waste mead- 
ows. It is the nest of this field mouse 
which the bumblebee so often takes 
possession of, after it is deserted. The 
meadow mouse is a good fighter, sitting 
up like a woodchuck and facing its enemy 
bravely. It needs to be courageous, for 
it is preyed upon by almost every creature 
that feeds upon small animals; the hawks 
and owls especially are its enemies. It is 
well for the farmer that these mice have 
so many enemies, for they multiply rap- 
idly and would otherwise soon overrun 
and destroy the grain fields. They cause 
tremendous damage by girdling valuable 
fruit trees. This mouse is an excellent 

A part of winter work is to make the 
pupils familiar with the tracks of the 
meadow mice and to teach them how to 
distinguish them from other tracks. 

Country Life in America 

A white-footed mouse at her own doorway in 
the woods 


Trapping Field Mice Probably wild 
animals have endured more cruelty 
through the agency of traps than through 
any other form of human persecution. The 
savage steel traps often catch the animal 
by the leg, holding it until it gnaws off 
the imprisoned foot, and thus escapes 
maimed and handicapped for its future 
struggle for food; or if the trap gets a 
strong hold, the poor creature may suffer 
tortures during a long period, before the 
owner of the trap appears to put an end 
to its sufferings by death. If box traps are 
used, they are often neglected and the 
imprisoned animal is left to languish and 
starve. The teacher cannot enforce too 
strongly upon the child the ethics of trap- 
ping. Impress upon him that the box traps 
are far less cruel; but that if set, they must 
be examined regularly and not neglected. 
The study of mice affords a good oppor- 
tunity for giving the children a lesson in 
humane trapping. Let them set a tin-can 
trap for meadow mice or deer mice. They 
must examine the traps every morning. 
The little prisoners may be brought to 
school and studied; meanwhile, they 
should be treated kindly and fed bounti- 
fully. After a mouse has been studied it 
should be set free, even though it be one 
of the quite pestiferous field mice. The 
moral effect of killing an animal after a 


Tracks of a white-footed mouse. Note how 
the long tail has left a print in the snow. As 
this mouse does not hibernate, its tracks are 
often seen on snow 

Nature Photography around the Year, Percy A. Morris, 
- D. Appleton-Century Co., Inc. 

A meadow mouse 

child has become thoroughly interested in 
it and its life is always bad. 

Comes to Life, by Maribelle Cormack 
and William P. Alexander; Winter, 
by Dallas L. Sharp; also, readings on 
page 214. 


LEADING THOUGHT The mouse is fit- 
ted by color, form, agility, and habits to 
thrive upon the food which it steals from 
man, and to live in the midst of civilized 

METHOD A mouse cage can be easily 
made of wire window-screen tacked upon 
a wooden frame. I have even used aquar- 
ium jars with wire screen covers; by plac- 
ing one jar upon another, opening to 
opening, and then laying them horizontal, 
the mouse can be transferred to a fresh 
cage without trouble, and thus the 
mousy odor can be obviated while the 
little creature is being studied. A little 
water in a wide-necked bottle can be low- 
ered into this glass house by a string, and 
the food can be given in like manner. 
Stripped paper should be put into the jar 
for the comfort of the prisoner; a stiff 
string hanging down from the middle of 
the cage will afford him a chance to show 
his feats as an acrobat. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Why is the color of 
the mouse of special benefit to it? Do 
you think it protects it from the sight of 



Robert T. Hatt 

A tin-can trap for catching small rodents 
alive. To a choke trap is wired a tin can with 
a piece slightly larger than the bait treadle of 
the trap cut out. To the choke wire of the 
trap is fastened a square of coarse wire mesh 

its enemies? Can you see a mouse easily 
as it runs across the room? What is the 
nature of the fur of a mouse? 

2. How long is a mouse's tail as com- 
pared with its body? What is the cover- 
ing of the tail? Of what use to the mouse 
is this long, ridged tail? Watch the mouse 
carefully and discover, if you can, the use 
of the tail in climbing. 

3. Is the mouse a good jumper? Are 
the hind legs long and strong when com- 
pared with the front legs? How high do 
you think a mouse can jump? Do you 
think it uses its tail as an aid in jumping? 
How much of the legs are covered with 
hair? Compare the front and hind feet. 
What sort of claws have they? How does 
the mouse use its feet when climbing the 
string? How can it climb up the side of 
a wall? 

4. Describe the eyes. Do you think the 
mouse can see very well? Does it wink? 
What is the shape of the ears? Do you 
think it can hear well? Can it move its 
ears forward or backward? 

5. What is the shape of the snout? Of 
what advantage is this? Note the whiskers. 
What is their use? Describe the mouth. 
Do you know how the teeth are arranged? 
For what other purpose than to bite food 
does the mouse use its teeth? What other 
animals have their teeth arranged like 
those of the mouse? What food does the 
house mouse live upon? How does it 
get it? 

6. How does the mouse act when it is 
reaching up to examine something? How 
does it hold its front feet? Describe how 
the mouse washes its face; its back; its feet. 

7. Where does the house mouse build 
its nest? Of what material? How do the 
baby mice look? Can they see when they 
are first born? 

8. House mice are great travelers. Can 
you tell how they manage to get from 
place to place? Write a story telling all 
you know of their habits. 

9. How many kinds of mice do you 
know? Does the house mouse ever live 
in the field? What do you know of the 
habits of the white-footed mouse? Of the 
meadow mice? Of the jumping mice? 

American Humane Society 

A woodchuck caught in a humane trap. If 
such traps are visited frequently, animals 
caught in them do not suffer such agonies as 
in ordinary steel traps. Information about 
various types of humane traps can be secured 
from the American Humane Society, Albany, 



He who knows the ways of the wood- 
chuck can readily guess where it is likely 
to be found; it loves meadows and pastures 
where grass or clover lushly grows. It is 
also fond of garden truck and has a special 
delectation for melons. The burrow is 
likely to be situated near a fence or stone 
heap, which gives easy access to the 
chosen food. The woodchuck makes its 
burrow by digging the earth loose with its 
front feet, and pushing it backward and 
out of the entrance with the hind feet. 
This method leaves the soil in a heap near 
the entrance, from which paths radiate 
into the grass in all directions. If one un- 
dertakes to dig out a woodchuck, one 
needs to be not only a husky individual, 
but something of an engineer; the direc- 
tion of the burrow extends downward for 
a little way, and then rises at an easy angle, 
so that the inmate may be in no danger 
of flood. The nest is merely an enlarge- 
ment of the burrow, lined with soft grass 
which the woodchucks bring in in their 
mouths. During the early part of the sea- 
son, the father and mother and the litter 
of young may inhabit the same burrow, 
although there are likely to be at least two 
separate nests. There is usually more than 
one back door to the woodchuck's dwell- 

ing, through which it may escape if 
pressed too closely by enemies; these back 
doors differ from the entrance in that 
they are usually hidden and have no earth 
heaped near them. 

The woodchuck usually feeds in the 
morning and again in the evening, and is 
likely to spend the middle of the day rest- 
ing. It often goes some distance from its 
burrow to feed, and at short intervals lifts 

The woodchuck is at home in grassy meadows 



itself upon its hind feet to see if the coast 
is clear; if assailed, it will seek to escape 
by running to its burrow; and when run- 
ning, it has a peculiar gait well described 
as " pouring itself along/' If it reaches its 
burrow, it at once begins to dig deeply and 
throw the earth out behind it, thus mak- 
ing a wall to keep out the enemy. When 
cornered, the woodchuck is a courageous 
and fierce fighter; its sharp incisors prove 
a powerful weapon and it will often whip 
a dog much larger than itself. Every boy 
knows how to find whether the wood- 

W. J. Hamilton, Jr. 

. . amon, r. 

These young woodchucks are as tame as 


chuck is in its den or not, by rolling a 
stone into the burrow, and listening; if 
the animal is at home, the sound of its 
digging apprises the listener of the fact, 
In earlier times, the ground hogs were 
much preyed upon by wolves, wildcats, 
and foxes; now only the fox remains and 
he is fast disappearing, so that at present 
the farmer and his dog are about the only 
enemies this burrower has, to contend 
with. In recent years it has been con- 
sidered a game animal and furnishes much 
sport for the rifleman. It is an animal of 
resources and will climb a tree if attacked 
by a dog; it will also climb trees for fruit, 
such as wild cherries or peaches. During 
the late summer, it is the ground hog's 
business to feed very constantly and be- 
come very fat. About the first of October, 
it retires to its den and sleeps until the 
end of February or early March, in the 
eastern United States. During this dor- 
mant state, the beating of its heart is so 
faint as to be scarcely perceptible, and very 

little nourishment is required to keep it 
alive; this nourishment is supplied by the 
fat stored in its body, which it uses up by 
spring, when it comes out of its burrow 
looking gaunt and lean. The old saying 
that the ground hog comes out on Candle- 
mas Day, and if it sees its shadow, goes 
back to sleep for six weeks more, may 
savor of meteorological truth, but it is cer- 
tainly not true of the ground hog. 

The full-grown woodchuck ordinarily 
measures about two feet in length. Its 
color is grizzly or brownish, sometimes 
blackish in places; the under parts are red- 
dish and the feet black. The fur is rather 
coarse, thick, and brown, with longer hairs 
which are grayish. The skin is very thick 
and tough and seems to fit loosely, a condi- 
tion which gives the peculiar " pouring 
along " appearance when it is running. 
The hind legs and feet are longer than 
those in front. Both pairs of feet are fitted 
for digging, the front ones being used for 
loosening the earth and the hind pair 
for kicking it out of the burrow. 

The woodchuck's ears are roundish and 
not prominent; the sense of hearing is 
acute. The teeth consist of two large white 
incisors at the front of each jaw, then a 
bare space, and then four grinders on each 
side, above and below; the incisors are 
used for biting food and also for fighting. 
The eyes are full and bright. The tail is 
short and brushy, and it, with the hind 
legs, forms a tripod which supports the 
animal as it sits with its forefeet lifted. 

When feeding, the woodchuck often 
makes a contented grunting noise; when 
attacked and fighting, it growls; it also 
can whistle. I had a woodchuck acquaint- 
ance once which always gave a high, shrill, 
almost birdlike whistle when I came in 
view. There are plenty of statements in 
books that woodchucks are fond of music, 
and Mr. Ingersoll states that at Wellesley 
College a woodchuck on the chapel lawn 
was wont to join the morning song exer- 
cises with a " clear soprano/ 7 The young 
woodchucks are born from late March to 
mid May, and the litter usually numbers 
four or five. In June the " chucklings " 
may be seen following the mother in the 



field with much babyish grunting. If cap- direction do the underground galleries 

tured at this period, they make very in- 
teresting pets. By July the young wood- 
chucks leave the home burrow and start 
burrows of their own. 

chuck, by Dorothy L. Brown and Mar- 
guerite Butterfield; Holiday Meadow, by 
Edith M. Patch; Mother Nature Series, 
by Fannie W. Dunn and Eleanor Troxell, 
Book 2, By the Roadside; The Museum 
Comes to Life, by Maribelle Cormack 
and William P. Alexander; The Pet Book, 
by Anna B. Comstock; also, readings on 
page 214. 


LEADING THOUGHT The woodchuck 
has thriven with civilization, notwith- 
standing the farmer's dog, gun, traps, and 
poison. It makes its nest in a burrow in 
the earth and lives upon vegetation; it 
hibernates in winter. 

METHOD Within convenient distance 
for observation by the pupils of every 
country schoolhouse and of most village 
schoolhouses, may be found a woodchuck 
and its dwelling. The pupils should be 
given the outline for observations which 
should be made individually through 
watching the woodchuck for weeks or 

OBSERVATIONS i. Where is the wood- 
chuck found? On what does it live? At 
what time of day does it feed? How does 
it act when startled? 

2. Is the woodchuck a good fighter? 
With what weapons does it fight? What 
are its enemies? How does it escape its 
enemies when in or out of its burrow? 
How does it look when running? 

3. What noises does the woodchuck 
make? Play a mouth organ near the wood- 
chuck's burrow and note if it likes music. 

4. How does the woodchuck make its 
burrow? Where is it likely to be situated? 
Where is the earth placed which is taken 
from the burrow? How does the wood- 
chuck bring it out? How is the burrow 
made so that the woodchuck is not 
drowned in case of heavy rains? In what 

go? Where is the nest placed in relation 
to the galleries? Of what is the nest made? 
How is the bedding carried in? Of what 
special use is the nest? 

5. Do you find paths leading to the 
entrances of the burrow? If so ? describe 
them. How can you tell whether a wood- 
chuck is at home or not if you do not see 
it enter? Where is the woodchuck likely 
to station itself when it sits up to look 
for intruders? 

6. How many woodchucks inhabit the 
same burrow? Are there likely to be one 
or more back doors to the burrow? What 
for? How do the back doors differ from 
the front doors? 

7. How long is the longest w r oodchuck 
that you have ever seen? What is the 
woodchucFs color? Is its fur long or short? 
Coarse or fine? Thick or sparse? Is the 
skin thick or thin? Does it seem loose or 
close fitting? 

8. Compare the front and hind feet 
and describe the difference in size and 
shape. Are either or both slightly webbed? 
Explain how both front and hind feet and 
legs are adapted by their shape to help 
the woodchuck. Is the tail long or short? 
How does it assist the animal in sitting up? 

9. What is the shape of the wood- 
chuck's ear? Can it hear well? Of what 
use are the long incisors? Describe the 

10. How does the woodchuck prepare 
for winter? Where and how does it 
pass the winter? Did you ever know a 
woodchuck to come out on Candlemas 
Day to look for its shadow? 

11. When does the woodchuck appear 
in the spring? Compare its general ap- 
pearance in the fall and in the spring and 
explain the reason for the difference. 

12. When are the young woodchucks 
born? What do you know of the way the 
mother woodchuck cares for her young? 

As I turned round the corner of Hub- 
bard's Grove, saw a woodchuck, the first 
of the season, in the middle of the field 
six or seven rods from the fence which 
bounds the wood, and twenty rods distant. 


I ran along the fence and cut him off, or 
rather overtook him, though he started at 
the same time. When I was only a rod and 
a half off, he stopped, and I did the same; 
then he ran again, and I ran up within 
three feet of him, when he stopped again, 
the fence being between us. I squatted 
down and surveyed him at my leisure. 
His eyes were dull black and rather in- 
obvious, with a faint chestnut iris, with 
but little expression and that more of resig- 
nation than of anger. The general aspect 
was a coarse grayish brown, a sort of grisel. 
A lighter brown next the skin, then black 
or very dark brown and tipped with whit- 
ish rather loosely. The head between a 
squirrel and a bear, flat on the top and 
dark brown, and darker still or black on 
the tip of the nose. The whiskers black, 
two inches long. The ears very small and 
roundish, set far back and nearly buried 
in the fur. Black feet, with long and slen- 
der claws for digging. It appeared to 
tremble, or perchance shivered with cold. 
When I moved, it gritted its teeth quite 
loud, sometimes striking the under jaw 
against the other chatteringly, sometimes 
grinding one /aw on the other, yet as if 
more from instinct than anger. Which- 
ever way I turned, that way it headed. I 
took a twig a foot long and touched its 
snout, at which it started forward and bit 
the stick, lessening the distance between us 
to two feet, and still it held all the ground 
it gained. I played with it tenderly awhile 
with the stick, trying to open its gritting 
jaws. Ever its long incisors, two above and 
two below, were presented. But I thought 
it would go to sleep if I stayed long 
enough. It did not sit upright as some- 
times, but standing on its fore feet with 
its head down, i. e., half sitting, half stand- 
ing. We sat looking at one another about 
half an hour, till we began to feel mes- 
meric influences. When I was tired, I 
moved away, wishing to see him run, but 
I could not start him. He would not stir 
as long as I was looking at him or could 
see him. I walked around him; he turned 
as fast and fronted me still. I sat down by 
his side within a foot. I talked to him quasi 
forest lingo, baby-talk, at any rate in a con- 

ciliatory tone, and thought that I had 
some influence on him. He gritted his 
teeth less. I chewed checkerberry leaves 
and presented them to his nose at last 
without a grit; though I saw that by so 
much gritting of the teeth he had worn 
them rapidly and they were covered with 
a fine white powder, which, if you meas- 
ured it thus, would have made his anger 
terrible. He did not mind any noise I 
might make. With a little stick I lifted 
one of his paws to examine it, and held 
it up at pleasure. I turned him over to see 
what color he was beneath (darker or 
most purely brown), though he turned 
himself back again sooner than I could 
have wished. His tail was also brown, 
though not very dark, rat-tail like, with 
loose hairs standing out on all sides like 
a caterpillar brush. He had a rather mild 
look. I spoke kindly to him. I reached 
checkerberry leaves to his mouth. I 
stretched my hands over him, though 
he turned up his head and still gritted a 
little. I laid my hand on him, but im- 
mediately took it off again, instinct not 
being wholly overcome. If I had had a 
few fresh bean leaves, thus in advance of 
the season, I am sure I should have tamed 
him completely. It was a frizzly tail. His 
is a humble, terrestrial color like the par- 
tridge's, well concealed where dead wiry 
grass rises above darker brown or chestnut 
dead leaves a modest color. If I had had 
some food, I should have ended with 
stroking him at my leisure. Could easily 
have wrapped him in my handkerchief. 
He was not fat nor particularly lean. I 
finally had to leave him without seeing 
him move from the place. A large, clumsy, 
burrowing squirrel. Arctomys, bear-mouse. 
I respect him as one of the natives. He 
lies there, by his color and habits so nat- 
uralized amid the dry leaves, the withered 
grass, and the bushes. A sound nap, too, 
he has enjoyed in his native fields, the past 
winter. I think I might learn some wis- 
dom of him. His ancestors have lived here 
longer than mine. He is more thoroughly 
acclimated and naturalized than I. Bean 
leaves the red man raised for him, but he 
can do without them. 




Just a tawny glimmer, a dash of red and gray, 

Was it a flitting shadow,, or a sunbeam gone astray/ 

It glances up a tree trunk, and a pair of bright eyes glow 

Where a little spy in ambush is measuring his foe. 

I hear a mocking chuckle, then wrathful, he grows bold 

And stays his pressing business to scold and scold and scold. 

We ought to yield admiring tribute to 
those animals which have been able to 
flourish in our midst despite man and his 
gun, this weapon being the most cowardly 
and unfair invention of the human mind. 
The only time that man has been a fair 
fighter in combating his four-footed 
brethren was when he fought them with 
a weapon which he wielded in his hand. 
There is nothing in animal comprehen- 
sion which can take into account a pro- 
jectile, and much less a shot from a gun; 
but though it does not understand, it ex- 
periences a deathly fear at the noise. It 
is pathetic to note the hush in a forest 
that follows the sound of a gun; every song, 
every voice, every movement is stilled and 
every little heart filled with nameless ter- 
ror. How any man or boy can feel manly 
when, with this scientific instrument of 
death in his hands, he takes the life of 
a little squirrel, bird, or rabbit, is beyond 
my comprehension. In pioneer days when 
it was a fight for existence, man against 
the wilderness, the matter was quite dif- 
ferent; but now it seems to me that any- 
one who hunts what few wild creatures 
we have left, and which are in nowise in- 
jurious, is, whatever he may think of him- 
self, no believer in fair play. 

Within my own memory, the beautiful 
black squirrel was as common in our 
woods as was his red cousin; the shotgun 
has exterminated this splendid species lo- 
cally. Well may we rejoice that the red 
squirrel has, through its lesser size and 
greater cunning, escaped a like fate; and 
that, pugnacious and companionable 
and shy, it lives in our midst and climbs 
our very roofs to sit there and scold us for 
coming within its range of vision. It has 

succeeded not only in living despite man, 
but because of man, for it rifles our grain 
bins and corn cribs and waxes opulent by 
levying tribute upon our stores. 

Thoreau describes most graphically the 
movements of this squirrel. He says: " All 
day long the red squirrels came and went. 
One would approach at first warily, warily, 

Dorothy M. Compton 

Red squirrel at feeding log 

through the shrub-oaks, running over the 
snow crust by fits and starts and like a 
leaf blown by the wind, now a few paces 
this way, with wonderful speed and waste 
of energy, making inconceivable haste 
with his " trotters/ 7 as if it were for a wager, 
and now as many paces that way, but 
never getting on more than half a rod at 
a time; and then suddenly pausing with 
a ludicrous expression and a gratuitous 
somersault, as if all the eyes of the uni- 
verse were fixed on him . . . and then 
suddenly, before you could say " Jack 
Robinson " he would be in the top of a 


A red squirrel on his vine bridge 

young pitch pine, winding up his clock, 
and chiding all imaginary spectators, so- 
liloquizing and talking to all the universe 
at the same time/' 

It is surely one of the most comical of 
sights to see a squirrel stop running and, 
take observations; he lifts himself on his 
haunches, and with body bent forward, 
presses his little paws against his breast 
as if to say, " Be still, O my beating 
heart! " which is all pure affectation be- 
cause he knows he can scurry away in per- 
fect safety. He is likely to take refuge on 
the far side of a tree, peeping out from 
this side and that, and whisking back 
like a flash as he catches our eye; we 
might never know he was there except 
that, as Riley puts it, " he lets his own 
tail tell on him/ 7 When climbing up or 
down a tree, he goes head first and spreads 
his legs apart to clasp as much of the 
trunk as possible; meanwhile his sharp lit- 
tle claws cling securely to the bark. He can 
climb out on the smallest twigs quite as 
well, when he needs to clo so, in passing 
from tree to tree or when gathering 

A squirrel always establishes certain 
roads to and from his abiding place and 
almost invariably follows them. Such a 

path may be entirely in the tree tops, with 
air bridges from a certain branch of one 
tree to a certain branch of another, or it 
may be partially on the ground between 
trees. I have made notes of these paths in 
the vicinity of my own home, and have 
noted that if a squirrel leaves them for 
exploring, he goes warily; while, when fol- 
lowing them, he is quite reckless in his 
haste. When making a jump from tree 
to tree, he flattens himself as widely as 
possible and his tail is held somewhat 
curved, but on a level with the body, as 
if its wide brush helped to buoy him up 
and perhaps to steer him also. 

During the winter the chickaree is 
brightly colored and is a conspicuous ob- 
ject; his back is bright russet, almost red, 
and along his sides, where the red meets 
the grayish white of the underside, there 
is a dark line which is very ornamental. 
With the corning of summer, however, his 
coat becomes quite dingy. In November 
he moults, and his bright color returns. 
When dashing up a tree trunk, his color 
is never very striking but looks like the 
glimmer of sunlight; this has probably 
saved many of his kind from the gunner, 
whose eyes, being at the front of his head, 
cannot compare in efficiency with those 
of the squirrel, which, large and full and 
alert, are placed at the sides of the head 
so as to see equally well in all directions. 

The squirrel's legs are short because he 
is essentially a climber rather than a run- 
ner; the hips are very strong, which in- 
sures his power as a jumper, and his leaps 
are truly remarkable. A squirrel uses his 
front paws for hands in a most human 
way; with them he washes his face and 
holds his food up to his mouth while 
eating, and it is interesting to note the skill 
of his claws when used as fingers. The track 
he makes in the snow is quite character- 
istic. The tracks are paired and those of 
the large five-toed hind feet are always in 

Squirrel tracks 


The squirrel has two pairs of gnawing 
teeth which are very long and strong, as 
in all rodents, and he needs to keep busy 
gnawing hard things with them, or they 
will grow so long that he cannot use them 
at all and will starve to death. He is very 
clever about opening nuts so as to get all 
the meats. He often opens a hickory nut 
with two holes which tap the places of 
the nut meats squarely; with walnuts 
or butternuts, which have much harder 
shells, he makes four small holes, one op- 
posite each quarter of the kernel. He has 
no cheek pouches like a chipmunk but 
he can carry corn and other grain. He 
often fills his mouth so full that his cheeks 
bulge out like those of a boy eating pop- 
corn; but anything as large as a nut he 
carries in his teeth. His food is far more 
varied than many suppose and he will 
eat almost anything eatable; he is a little 
pirate and enjoys stealing from others with 
keenest zest. In spring, he eats leaf buds 
and hunts our orchards for apple seeds. 
In winter, he feeds on nuts, buds, and 
cones; it is marvelous how he will take a 
cone apart, tearing of! the scales and leav- 
ing them in a heap while searching for 
seeds; he is especially fond of the seeds 
of Norway spruce and hemlock. Of course, 
he is fond of nuts of all kinds and will 
cut the chestnut burs from the tree before 
they are ripe, so that he may get ahead of 
the other harvesters. He stores his food 
for winter in all sorts of odd places and 
often forgets where he puts it. We often 

A. A. Allen 

A gray squirrel with food in its paws 

Dwight E. Sollberger 

Flying squirrel just leaving home 

find his winter stores untouched the next 
summer. He also likes birds' eggs and nest- 
lings, and if it were not for the chastise- 
ment he gets from the parent robins, 
he would work much damage in this 

The red squirrels use a great variety of 
places for nests. In different localities vari- 
ous types of nests are constructed; some 
individuals prefer hollow trees, some build 
nests in clumps of vines, such as wild 
grape vines, and still others make their 
homes in the ground under or about 
stumps. During the winter, the red squir- 
rel does not remain at home except in 
the coldest weather, when he lies cozily 
with his tail wrapped around him like a 
fur neck-piece to keep him warm. He is 
too full of interest in the world to lie 
quietly long, but comes out, hunts up 
some of his stores, and finds life worth 
while despite the cold. One squirrel 
adopted a birdhouse in one of our trees, 
and he or his kin have lived there for 
years; in winter, he takes his share of the 
suet put on the trees for birds, and be- 
cause of his greediness we have been com- 
pelled to use picture wire for tying on 
the suet. 

The young are born in a well-protected 
nest. There are four to six in a litter and 
they usually appear in April. If it is neces- 


sary to move the young the mother grasps 
the babies by the loose skin of their un- 
derparts and carries them to safety. 

The squirrel has several ways of ex- 
pressing his emotions; one is by various 
curves in his long, beautiful bushy tail. 
If the creatures of the wood had a stage, 
the squirrel would be their chief actor. 
Surprise, incredulousness, indignation, 
fear, anger, and joy are all perfectly ex- 
pressed by tail gestures and also by voice. 
As a vocalist he excels; he chatters with 
curiosity, " chips " with surprise, scolds 
by giving a guttural trill, finishing with a 
falsetto squeal. He is the only singer I 
know who can carry two parts at a time. 
Notice him sometimes in the top of a 
hickory or chestnut tree when nuts are 
ripe, and you will hear him singing a 
duet all by himself, a high shrill chatter 
with a chuckling accompaniment. Long 
may he abide with us as an uninvited 
guest at our cribs! For, though he be a 
freebooter and conscienceless, yet our 
world would lack its highest example of 
incarnate grace and activity if he were 
not in it. 

SUGGESTED READING Bannertail, the 
Story of a Gray Squirrel, by Ernest 
Thompson Seton; Holiday Hill, by Edith 
M. Patch; Mother Nature Series, by Fan- 
nie W. Dunn and Eleanor Troxell, Book 
i, Baby Animals, Book 2, By the Road- 
side; The Museum Comes to Life, by 
Maribelle Corrnack and William P. Alex- 
ander; Our Backdoor Neighbors, by Frank 
C. Pellett; The Pet Book, by Anna B. 
Comstock; also, reading on page 214. 


LEADING THOUGHT The red squirrel 
by its agility and cleverness has lived on, 
despite its worst enemy man. By form 
and color and activity it is fitted to elude 
the hunter. 

METHOD If a pet squirrel in a cage 
can be procured for observation at the 
school, the observations on the form and 
habits of the animal can be best studied 
thus; but a squirrel in a cage is an anomaly 

and it is far better to stimulate the pupils 
to observe the squirrels out of doors. Give 
the following questions, a few at a time, 
and ask the pupils to report the answers 
to the entire class. Much should be done 
with the supplementary reading, as there 
are many interesting squirrel stories illus- 
trating its habits. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Where have you 
seen a squirrel? Does the squirrel trot 
along or leap when running on the 
ground? Does it run straight ahead or 
stop at intervals for observation? How 
does it look? How does it act when look- 
ing to see if the " coast is clear "? 

2. When climbing a tree, does it go 
straight up, or move around the trunk? 
How does it hide itself behind a tree 
trunk and observe the passer-by? Describe 
how it manages to climb a tree. Does it 
go down the tree head first? Is it able to 
climb out on the smallest branches? Of 
what advantage is this to the squirrel? 

3. Look closely and see if a squirrel fol- 
lows the same route always when pass- 
ing from one point to another. How 
does it pass from tree to tree? How does 
it act when preparing to jump? How 
does it hold its legs and tail when in 
the air during a jump from branch to 

4. Describe the colors of the red squir- 
rel above and below. Is there a dark stripe 
along its side; if so, what color? How does 
the color of the squirrel protect it from 
its enemies? Is its color brighter in sum- 
mer or in winter? 

5. How are the squirrel's eyes placed? 
Do you think it can see behind as well as 
in front all the time? Are its eyes bright 
and alert, or soft and tender? 

6. Are its legs long or short? Are its 
hind legs stronger and longer than the 
front legs? Why? Why does it not need 
long legs? Do its paws have claws? How 
does it use its paws when eating and in 
making its toilet? 

7. Describe the squirrel's tail. Is it as 
long as the body? Is it used to express 
emotion? Of what use is it when the squir- 
rel is jumping? Of what use is it in the 
winter in the nest? 


8. What is the food of the squirrel dur- 
ing the autumn? Winter? Spring? Sum- 
mer? Where does it store food for the 
winter? Does it steal food laid up by jays, 
chipmunks, mice, or other squirrels? How 
does it carry nuts? Has it cheek-pouches 
like the chipmunk for carrying food? Does 
it stay in its nest all winter living on stored 
food like a chipmunk? 

9. Where does the red squirrel make 
its home? Of what is it made and where 
built? In what sort of nest are the young 
born and reared? At what time of the 
year are the young born? How does the 


mother squirrel carry her little ones if she 
wishes to move them? 

10. How much of squirrel language can 
you understand? How does it express sur- 
prise, excitement, anger, or joy during the 
nut harvest? Note how many different 
sounds it makes and try to discover what 
they mean, 

11. Describe or sketch the tracks made 
by the squirrel in the snow. 

12. How does the squirrel get at the 
meats of the hickory nut and the walnut? 
How are its teeth arranged to gnaw holes 
in such hard substances as shells? 


Furry was a baby red squirrel. One day 
in May his mother was moving him from 
one tree to another. He was clinging with 
his little arms around her neck and his 
body clasped tightly against her breast 
when something frightened her, and in 
her sudden movement she dropped her 
heavy baby in the grass. Thus, I inherited 
him and entered upon the rather onerous 
duties of caring for a baby of whose needs 
I knew little; but I knew that every well- 
cared-for baby should have a book detail- 
ing all that happens to it, and therefore 
I made a book for Furry, writing in it each 
day the things he did. If the children who 
have pets keep similar books, they will 
find them most interesting reading after- 
ward, and they will surely enjoy the writ- 
ing very much. 


May 18, 1902 -The baby squirrel is 
just large enough to cuddle in one hand. 
He cuddles all right when once he is cap- 
tured; but he is a terrible fighter, and when 
I attempt to take him in my hand, he 
scratches and bites and growls so that 
I have been obliged to name him Fury. 
I told him, however, if he improved in 
temper I would change his name to Furry. 

May 19 Fury greets me, when I open 
his box, with the most awe-inspiring little 
growls, which he calculates will make me 

turn pale with fear. He has not cut his 
teeth yet, so he cannot bite very severely, 
but that isn't his fault, for he 'tries hard 
enough. The Naturalist said cold milk 
would kill him, so I warmed the milk and 
put it in a teaspoon and placed it in front 
of his nose; he batted the spoon with 
both forepaws and tried to bite it, and 
thus got a taste of the milk, which he 
drank eagerly, lapping it up like a kitten. 
When I hold him in one hand and cover 
him with the other, he turns contented 
little somersaults over and over. 

May 20 Fury bit me only once to- 
day, when I took him out to feed him. 
He is cutting his teeth on my devoted 
fingers. I tried giving him grape-nuts 
soaked in milk, but he spat it out in dis- 
gust. Evidently he does not believe he 
needs a food for brain and nerve. He al- 
ways washes his face as soon as he is 
through eating. 

May 21 Fury lies curled up under his 
blanket all day. Evidently good little 
squirrels stay quietly in the nest, when 
the mother is not at home to give them 
permission to run around. When Fury 
sleeps, he rolls himself up in a little ball 
with his tail wrapped closely around him. 
The squirrel's tail is his " furs," which he 
wraps around him to keep his back warm 
when he sleeps in winter. 

May 23 Every time I meet Uncle 

2 3 8 


John he asks, " Is his name Fury or Furry 
now? " Uncle John is much interested in 
the good behavior of even little squirrels. 
As Fury has not bitten me hard for two 
days, I think I will call him Furry after 
this. He ate some bread soaked in milk 
to-day, holding it in his hands in real squir- 
rel fashion. I let him run around the room 
and he liked it. 

May 25 Furry got away from me this 
morning and I did not find him for an 
hour. Then I discovered him in a paste- 
board box of drawing paper with the cover 
on. How did he squeeze through? 

May 26 He holds the bowl of the 
spoon with both front paws while he 
drinks the milk. When I try to draw the 
spoon away to fill it again after he has 
emptied it, he objects and hangs on to 
it with all his little might, and scolds as 
hard as ever he can. He is such a funny, 
unreasonable baby. 

May 28 Tonight I gave Furry a wal- 
nut meat. As soon as he smelled it he be- 
came greatly excited; he grasped the meat 
in his hands and ran off and hid under 
my elbow, growling like a kitten with its 
first mouse. 

May 30 Since he tasted nuts he has 
lost interest in milk. The nut meats are 
too hard for his new teeth 7 so I mash them 
and soak them in water and now he eats 
them like a little piggy-wig with no man- 
ners at all. He loves to have me stroke 
his back while he is eating. He uses his 
thumbs and fingers in such a human way 
that I always call his front paws hands. 
When his piece of nut is very small he 
holds it in one hand and clasps the other 
hand behind the one which holds the 
dainty morsel, so as to keep it safe. 

May 31 - When he is sleepy he scolds 
if I disturb him and turning over on his 
back bats my hand with all of his soft 
little paws and pretends that he is going 
to bite. 

June 4 Furry ranges around the room 
now to please himself. He is a little mis- 
chief; he tips over his cup of milk and 
has commenced gnawing off the wall- 

paper behind the bookshelf to make him 
a nest. The paper is green and will prob- 
ably make him sorry. 

June 5 - This morning Furry was hid- 
den in a roll of paper. I put my hand over 
one end of the roll and then reached in 
with the other hand to get him; but he 
got me instead, because he ran up my 
sleeve and was much more contented to 
be there than I was to have him. I was 
glad enough when he left his hiding place 
and climbed to the top shelf of the book- 
case, far beyond my reach. 

June 6 1 have not seen Furry for 
twenty-four hours, but he is here surely 
enough. Last night he tipped over the 
ink bottles and scattered nut shells over 
the floor. He prefers pecans to any other 

June 7 I caught Furry today and he 
bit my finger so that it bled. But after- 
wards, he cuddled in my hand for a long 
time, and then climbed my shoulder and 
went hunting around in my hair and 
wanted to stay there and make a nest. 
When I took him away, he pulled out his 
two hands full of my devoted tresses. I'll 
not employ him as a hairdresser. 

June 9 Furry sleeps nights in the top 
drawer of my desk; he crawls in from be- 
hind. When I pull out the drawer he pops 
out and scares me nearly out of my wits; 
but he keeps his wits about him and gets 
away before I can catch him. 

June 20 - 1 keep the window open so 
Furry can run out and in and learn to 
take care of himself out-of-doors. 

Furry soon learned to take care of him- 
self, though he often returned for nuts, 
which I kept for him in a bowl. He does 
not come very near me out-of-doors, but 
he often speaks to me in a friendly manner 
from a certain pitch pine tree near the 

There are many blank leaves in Furry's 
notebook. I wish that he could have writ- 
ten on these of the things that he thought 
about me and my performances. It would 
certainly have been the most interesting 
book in the world concerning squirrels. 




While the chipmunk is a good runner 
and jumper, it is not so able a climber as 
is the red squirrel, and it naturally stays 
nearer the ground. One windy day I was 
struck by the peculiar attitude of what 
I first thought was a red squirrel gather- 
ing green acorns from a chestnut oak in 
front of my window. A second glance 
showed me that it was a chipmunk lying 
close to the branch, hanging on for " dear 
life " and with an attitude of extreme cau- 
tion, quite foreign to the red squirrel in 
a similar situation. He would creep out, 
seize an acorn in his teeth, creep back 
to a larger limb, take off the shell, and 
with his little paws stuff the kernel into 
his cheek-pouches; he took hold of one 
side of his mouth with one hand to 
stretch it out, as if opening a bag, and 
stuffed the acorn in with the other. I do 
not know whether this process was neces- 
sary or not at the beginning, for his cheeks 
were distended when I first saw him; and 
he kept on stuffing them until he looked 
as if he had a hopeless case of mumps. 
Then with obvious care he descended the 

Leonard K. Beyer 

This chipmunk has his cheek-pouches well 

tree and retreated to his den in the side- 
hill, the door of which I had already dis- 
covered, although it was well hidden by 
a bunch of orchard grass. 

Chipmunks are more easily tamed than 
red squirrels and soon learn that pockets 
may contain nuts and other things good 
to eat. The first tame chipmunk of my 

" Chipsie," a chipmunk of the Sierras 

acquaintance belonged to a species found 
in the California mountains. He was a 
beautiful little creature and loved to play 
about his mistress' room; she, being a 
naturalist as well as a poet, was able to un- 
derstand her little companion, and the re- 
lations between them were full of mutual 
confidence. He was fond of English wal- 
nuts and would always hide away all that 
were placed in a dish on the table. One 
day his mistress, when taking off her hat 
after returning from church, discovered 
several of these nuts tucked safely in the 
velvet bows; they were invisible from the 
front but perfectly visible from the side. 
Even yet, she wonders what the people 
at church that day thought of her original 
ideas in millinery; and she wonders still 
more how "Chipsie" managed to get 
into the hatbox, the cover of which was 
always carefully closed. 

The chipmunk is a good home builder 
and carries off, presumably in its cheek- 
pouches, all of the soil which it removes 
in making its burrow. The burrow is usu- 



Dorothy M. Conipton 

Peanuts are a favorite food oj tame chip- 

ally made in a dry hillside, the passage- 
way just large enough for its own body, 
widening to a nest which is well bedded 
clown. There is usually a back door also, 
so that in case of necessity the inmate 
can escape. It retires to this nest in late 
November and does not appear again 
until March. In mild winters it may be 
up and about on bright, sunny days. In 
the nest it stores nuts and other grains 
so that when it wakens, at long intervals, 
it can take refreshment. 

If you really wish to know whether you 
see what you look at or not, test yourself 
by trying to describe the length, position, 
and number of the chipmunk's stripes. 
These stripes, like those of the tiger in 
the jungle, make the creature less con- 
spicuous; when on the ground, where its 
stripes fall in with the general shape and 
color of the grass and underbrush, it is 
quite invisible until it stirs. Its tail is not 
so long nor nearly so bushy as that of the 

squirrel; it does not need a tail to balance 
and steer with in the tree tops; and since it 
lives in the ground, a bushy tail would 
soon be loaded with earth and would 
be an incubus instead of a thing of beauty. 
The chipmunk is not a vocalist like the 
red squirrel, but he can cluck like a cuckoo 
and chatter gayly or cogently; and he can 
make himself into a little bunch with his 
tail curved up his back, while he eats a 
nut from both his hands. He is even 
more amusing than the red squirrel in this 
attitude, probably because lie is more in- 
nocent and not so much of a poseur. His 
food consists of all kinds of nuts, grain, 
and fruit, but he does little or no damage, 

Chipmunks sometimes cache their food 
under stumps 

ai'^' J^L^_^_ 

Dorothy M. Coinpton 

Common chipmunk, often called ground 

as a rule. He does upon occasion rob the 
flower garden of valued bulbs. He is 
pretty and distinctly companionable, and 
I can rejoice that I have had him and 
his whole family as my near neighbors for 
many years. I always feel especially proud 
when he shows his confidence by scamper-- 
ing around our porch floor and peeping 
in at our windows, as if taking a reciprocal 
interest in us. 

Comes to Life, by Maribelle Cormack and 
William P. Alexander; The Pet Boole, by 
Anna B. Comstock; Tami, the Story of a 
Chipmunk, by Bertha C. Cacly; also, read- 
ings on page 214. 


lives more on the ground than does the 

squirrel; its colors are protective and it 
has cheek-pouches in which it carries 
food, and also soil when digging its bur- 
row. It stores food for winter in its 

METHOD The field notebook should 
be the basis for this w r ork. Give the pupils 
an outline of observations to be made, and 
ask for reports now and then. Meanwhile 
stimulate interest in the little creatures by 
reading aloud from some of the references 

OBSERVATIONS i . Do you see the 
chipmunk climbing around in trees like 
the red squirrel? How high in a tree have 
you ever seen a chipmunk? 

2. What are the chipmunk's colors 
above and below? How many stripes has 
it? Where are they and what are their 
colors? Do you think that these stripes 
conceal the animal when among grasses 
and bushes? 

3. Compare the tails of the chipmunk 
and the red squirrel. Which is the longer 


and bushier? Tell if you can the special 
advantage to the chipmunk in having this 
less bushy tail. 

4. What does the chipmunk eat? How 
does it earn- its food? How does it differ 
in this respect from the red squirrel? Does 
it store its food for winter use? How does 
it prepare its nuts? How does it hold its 
food while eating? 

5. Where does the chipmunk make its 
home? How does it carry away soil from 
its burrow? How many entrances are 
there? How is the den arranged inside? 
Does it live in the same den the year 
round? When does it retire to its den in 
the fall? When does it come out in the 

6. Does the chipmunk do any damage 
to crops? What seeds does it distribute? 
At what time do the little chipmunks ap- 
pear in the spring? 

7. Observe carefully the different tones 
of the chipmunk and compare its chatter- 
ing with that of the squirrel. 

Verne Morton 

A bat 


His small umbrella, quaintly halved, 

Describing in the air an arc alike inscrutable, 

Elate philosopher/ EMILY DICKINSON 

Whoever first said " as blind as a bat/' 
surely never looked a bat in the face, or 
he would not have said it. The deep-set, 
keen, observant eyes are quite in keeping 

with the alert attitude of the erect, pointed 
ears; while the pug nose and the wide- 
open little pink bag of a mouth, set with 
tiny, sharp teeth, give this anomalous little 



animal a deliciously impish look. Yet how 
have those old artists belied the bat, who 
fashioned their demons after his pattern, 
ears, eyes, nose, mouth, wings, and all! 
The superstitions which link the bat with 
evil malign this bright, engaging little 
creature. There are no other wings so 
wonderful as the bat's; the thin mem- 

_ j 

Hung up for his daytime nap 

brane is equipped with sensitive nerves 
which inform the flier of the objects in 
his path, so that he darts among the 
branches of trees at terrific speed and 
never touches a twig; a blinded bat was 
once set free in a room, across which 
threads were stretched, and he flew about 
without ever touching one. After we have 
tamed one of these little, silky flitter-mice 
we soon get reconciled to his wings for 
he proves the cunningest of pets; he soon 
learns who feeds him, and is a constant 
source of entertainment. 

The flight of the bat consists of darting 
hither and thither with incredible swift- 
ness, and making sharp turns with no ap- 
parent effort. Swifts and swallows cannot 

compete with the bat in wing celerity and 
agility; it is interesting to note that these 
birds also catch insects on the wing for 
food. He makes a collecting net of the 
wing membrane stretched between the 
hind legs and tail, doubling it up like an 
apron on the unfortunate insects, and 
then reaching down and gobbling them 
up; and thus he is always doing good serv- 
ice to us on summer evenings by swallow- 
ing a multitude of insects. 

The short fur of the bat is as soft as 
silk, and covers the body but not the 
wings; the plan of the wing is something 
like that of the duck's foot; it consists of 
a web stretched between very much elon- 
gated fingers. If a boy's fingers were as long 
in proportion as a bat's, they would meas- 
ure four feet. Stretched between the long 
fingers is a thin, rubbery membrane, 
which extends back to the ankles and 
thence back to the tip of the bony tail; 
thus, the bat has a winged margin all 
around his body. Since fingers make the 
framework, it is the thumb that projects 
from the front angle of the wing, in the 
form of a very serviceable hook, resem- 
bling that used by a one-armed man to 
replace the lost member. These hooks the 
bat uses in many ways. He drags himself 
along the floor with their aid, or he 
scratches the back of his head with them, 
if occasion requires. He is essentially a 
creature of the air and is not at all fitted 
for walking; his knees bend backward in 
an opposite direction from ours. This ren- 
ders him unable to walk, and when at- 
tempting to do so, he has the appearance 
of " scrabbling " along on his feet and 
elbows. When thus moving he keeps his 
wings fluttering rapidly, as if feeling his 
way in the dark, and his movements are 
trembly. He uses his teeth to aid in climb- 

The little brown bat's wings often meas- 
ure nine inches from tip to tip, and yet 
he folds them so that they scarcely show; 
he does not fold them like a fan, but 
rather like a pocket-knife. The hind legs 
merely act as a support for the side wing, 
and the little hip bones look pitifully 
sharp. The membrane reaches only to the 



ankle; the tiny foot projecting from it is 
armed with five wirelike toes, tipped with 
sharp hooked claws. It is by these claws 
that he hangs when resting during the 
day, for he is upside-downy in his sleep- 
ing habits, slumbering during the daytime 
while hanging head downward, without 
any inconvenience from a rush of blood 
to the brain; when he is thus suspended, 
the tail is folded down. Sometimes he 
hangs by one hind foot and a front hook; 
and he is a wee thing when all folded to- 
gether and hung up, with his nose tucked 
between his hooked thumbs, in a very 
babyish fashion. 

The bat is very particular about his 
personal cleanliness. People who regard 
the bat as a dirty creature might well look 
to it that they be even half as fastidious 
as he. He washes his face with the front 
part of his wing, and then licks his wash- 
cloth clean; he scratches the back of his 
head with his hind foot and then licks the 
foot; when hanging head down, he will 
reach one hind foot down and scratch 
behind his ear with an aplomb truly comi- 
cal in such a mite; but it is most fun of 
all to see him clean his wings; he seizes 
the edges in his mouth and stretches and 
licks the membrane until we are sure it 
is made of silk elastic, for he pulls and 
hauls it in a way truly amazing. 

The bat has a voice which sounds like 
the squeak of a toy wheelbarrow, and yet 
it is expressive of emotions. He squeaks 
in one tone when holding conversation 
with other bats, and squeaks quite differ- 
ently when seized by the enemy. 

The mother bat feeds her little ones 
from her breasts as a mouse does its young, 
only she cradles them in her soft wings 
while so doing; often she takes them with 
her when she goes out for insects in the 
evenings; they cling to her neck during 
these exciting rides; but when she wishes 
to work unencumbered, she hangs her 
tiny youngsters on some twig and goes 
back for them later. The little ones are 
born in July and usually occur as twins. 
During the winter, some bats hibernate 
like woodchucks or chipmunks. They se- 
lect for winter quarters some hollow tree 

or cave or other protected place. They 
go to sleep when the cold weather comes, 
and do not awake until the insects are 
flying; they then come forth in the eve- 
nings, or perhaps early in the morning, 
and do their best to rid the world of insect 
nuisances. Others migrate to the south 
with the advent of cold weather. 

There are many senseless fears about 
the bat; for instance, that he likes to get 
tangled in a lady's tresses, a situation 
which would frighten him far more than 
the lady; or that he brings bedbugs into 
the house when he enters on his quest 
for insects, which is an ungrateful slander. 
Some people believe that all bats are vam- 
pires, and only await an opportunity to 
suck blood from their victims. It is true 
that in South America there are two spe- 
cies which occasionally attack people who 
are careless enough to sleep with their 
toes uncovered, but feet thus injured seem 
to recover speedily. These bats do little 
damage to people, although they some- 
times pester animals; and there are no 
vampires in the United States. Our bats, 
on the contrary, are innocent and bene- 
ficial to man. There are a few species in 
our country which have little, leaflike 
growths on the end of the nose; these 
growths serve the purpose of sensory 

Series, by Fannie W. Dunn and Eleanor 
Troxell, Book 3, In Field and Forest; The 
Museum Comes to Life, by Maribelle 
Cormack and William P. Alexander; The 
Pet Book, by Anna B. Comstock; also, 
readings on page 214. 


bat's wings are very different from those 
of the bird, yet it is a rapid and agile 
flier. It flies in the dusk and catches great 
numbers of mosquitoes and other trouble- 
some insects, upon which it feeds. 

METHOD This lesson should not be 
given unless there is a live bat to illustrate 
it; the little creature can be cared for com- 



fortably in a cage in the schoolroom, as 
it will soon learn to take flies or bits of 
raw meat when presented on the point 
of a pencil or toothpick. Any bat will do 
for this study, although the little brown 
bat is the one on which my observations 
were made. 

OBSERVATIONS i. At what time of 
day do we see bats flying? Describe how 

Charles E. Mohr 

Little brown bats hibernating in a Pennsyl- 
vania cave 

the bat's flight differs from that of birds. 
Why do bats dart about so rapidly? 

2. Look at a captive bat and describe its 
wings. Can you see what makes the frame- 
work of the wings? Do you see the three 
finger bones extending out into the 
wings? How do the hind legs support the 
wing? The tail? Is the wing membrane 
covered with fur? Is it thick and leathery 
or thin and silky and elastic? How does 
the bat fold up its wings? 

3. In what position does the bat rest? 
Does it ever hang by its thumb hooks? 

4. Can you see whether the knees of 
the hind legs bend upward or downward? 
How does the bat act when trying to walk 

or crawl? How does it use its thumb hooks 
in doing this? 

5. What does the bat do daytimes? 
Where does it stay during the day? Do 
many bats congregate together in their 

6. Describe the bat's head, including 
the ears, eyes, nose, and mouth. What is 
its general expression? Do you think it 
can see and hear well? How is its mouth 
fitted for catching insects? Does it shut 
its mouth while chewing or keep it open? 
Do you think that bats can see by day- 

7. What noises does a bat make? How 
does it act if you try to touch it? Can it 
bite severely? Can you understand why 
the Germans call it a flitter-mouse? 

8. Do you know how the mother bat 
cares for her young? How does she carry 
them? At what time of year may we ex- 
pect to find them? 

9. When making its toilet, how does a 
bat clean its wings? Its face? Its back? Its 
feet? Do you know if it is very clean in 
its habits? 

10. How and where do the bats pass 
the winter? How are they beneficial to us? 
Are they ever harmful? What are some 
superstitions about the bat? 

Nature-study should not be unrelated 
to the child's life and circumstances. It 
stands for directness and naturalness. It 
is astonishing when one comes to think 
of it, how indirect and how remote from 
the lives of pupils much of our education 
has been. Geography still often begins 
with the universe, and finally, perhaps, 
comes down to some concrete and familiar 
object or scene that the pupil can under- 
stand. Arithmetic has to do with broker- 
age and partnerships and partial payments 
and other things that mean nothing to 
the child. Botany begins with cells and 
protoplasm and cryptogams. History deals 
with political and military affairs, and only 
rarely comes down to physical facts and 
to those events that express the real lives 
of the people; and yet political and social 
affairs are only the results of expressions 
of the way in which people live. Readers 



begin with mere literature or with stories 
of scenes the child will never see. Of 
course these statements are meant to be 
only general, as illustrating what is even 
yet a great fault in educational methods. 
There are many exceptions, and these are 

becoming commoner. Surely, the best edu- 
cation is that which begins with the ma- 
terials at hand. A child knows a stone 
before it knows the earth. 



Those who have had experience with 
this animal surely are glad that it is small; 
and the wonder always is that so little a 
creature can make such a large impression 
upon the atmosphere. A fully grown skunk 
is about two feet long; its body is covered 
with long, shining, rather coarse hair, and 
the tail, which is carried like a flag in the 
air, is very large and bushy. In color, the 
fur is sometimes entirely black, but most 
often has a white patch on the back of the 
neck, with two stripes extending down 
the back and along the sides to the tail; 
the face, also, has a white stripe. 

The skunk has a long head and a rather 
pointed snout; its front legs are very much 
shorter than its hind legs, which gives it 
a very peculiar gait. Its forefeet are armed 
with long, strong claws, with which it digs 
its burrow, which is usually made in light 
soil. It also often makes its home in some 
crevice in rocks, or even takes possession of 
an abandoned woodchuck's hole; or trust- 
ing to its immunity from danger, makes its 
home under the barn. In the fall it be- 
comes very fat, and during the early part 
of winter it hibernates within its den; it 
comes out during the thaws of winter and 
early spring. 

The young skunks appear in May; they 
are born in an enlarged portion of the 
burrow, where a nice bed of grass and 
leaves is made for them; the skunk is scru- 
pulously neat about its own nest. The 
young skunks are very active and inter- 
esting to watch when playing together 
like kittens. 

The skunk belongs to the same family 
as the mink and weasel, which also give 
off a disagreeable odor when angry. The 
fetid material which is the skunk's defense 
is contained in two glands near the base 

of the tail. These little glands are about 
the size of marbles, and the quantity of 
liquid forced from them in a discharge is 
considerable and it will permeate the at- 
mosphere with its odor for a distance 
of half a mile down wind. Because this 
discharge is so disagreeable to all other 
creatures, the skunk's intelligence has not 
become so highly developed as has that of 
some animals. It has not been obliged to 
rely upon its cunning to escape its ene- 
mies, and has therefore never developed 

Verne Morton 

A skunk. Note the long, pointed head and the 
bushy tail 

either fear or cleverness. It marches abroad 
without haste, confident that every crea- 
ture which sees it will give it plenty of 
room. It is a night prowler, although it is 
not averse to a daytime promenade. The 
white upon its fur gives warning at night 
that here is an animal which had best be 
left alone. This immunity from attack 
makes the skunk careless in learning wis- 
dom from experience; it never learns to 
avoid a trap, or the dangers of a railway 
or trolley track. It plods deliberately across 
highways, leaving its protection to the 


The skunk's food consists largely of 
fruits and berries, insects, mice, snakes, 
frogs, and other small animals. It also 
destroys the eggs and young of birds which 
nest upon the ground. It uses its strong 
forepaws in securing its prey. Dr. Mer- 
riam, who made pets of young skunks 
after removing their scent capsules, found 
them very interesting. He says of one 
which was named "Meph'': " We used 
to walk through the woods to a large 


Comes to Life, by Maribelle Cormack and 
William P. Alexander; The Pet Book, by 
Anna B. Comstock; also, readings on 
page 214. 

Doubleday, Page & Co. 

Pet skunks 

meadow that abounded in grasshoppers. 
Here, Meph would fairly revel in his fa- 
vorite food, and it was rich sport to watch 
his manoeuvres. When a grasshopper 
jumped, he jumped, and I have seen him 
with as many as three in his mouth and 
two under his forepaws at the same time." 

The only injury which the skunk is 
likely to do farmers is the raiding of hens' 
nests or the beehives; this can be obviated 
by properly housing the poultry and bees. 
On the other hand, the skunk is of great 
use in destroying injurious insects and 
mice. Often when skunks burrow beneath 
barns, they completely rid the place of 
mice. Skunk fur is very valuable and is 
sold, surprisingly, under its own name; it 
is exported in great quantities to Europe. 

The skunk takes short steps, and goes so 
slowly that it makes a double track, the 
imprints being very close together. The 
foot makes a longer track than that of the 
cat, as the skunk is plantigrade; that is, 
it walks upon its palms and heels as well 
as its toes. 



LEADING THOUGHT The skunk has de- 
pended so long upon protecting itself from 
its enemies by its disagreeable odor that 
it has become stupid and unadaptable, 
and seems never to be able to learn to 
keep off railroad tracks or highways. It is 
a very beneficial animal to the farmer be- 
cause its food consists so largely of injuri- 
ous insects and rodents. 

METHOD The questions should be 
given the pupils and they should answer 
them from personal observations or in- 

OBSERVATIONS i . How large is a 
skunk? Describe its fur. Where does the 
black and white occur in the fur? Of what 
use is the white to the skunk? Is the fur 
valuable? What is its commercial name? 

2. What is the shape of the skunk's 
head? The general shape of the body? The 
tail? Are the front legs longer or shorter 
than the hind legs? Describe the front 
feet. For what are they used? 

3. Where and how does the skunk make 
its nest? Does it sleep like a wooclchuck 
during the winter? What is its food? How 
does it catch its prey? Does it hunt for 
its food during the day or the night? Does 
the skunk ever hurry? Is it afraid? How 
does it protect itself from its enemies? 
Do you think that the skunk's freedom 
from fear has rendered the animal less 

4. At what time do the skunk kittens 
appear? Have you ever seen little skunks 
playing? If so, describe their antics. How 
is the nest made soft for the young ones? 

5. How does the skunk benefit farmers? 
Does it ever do them any injury? Do you 
think that it does more good than harm? 

6. Describe the skunk's track as fol- 
lows: How many toes show in the track? 
Does the palm or heel show? Are the tracks 



near together? Do they form a single or 
a double line? 

Few animals are so silent as the skunk. 
Zoological works contain no information 
as to its voice, and the essayists rarely 
mention it except by implication. Mr. 
Burroughs says: " The most silent creature 
known to me, he makes no sound, so far as 
I have observed, save a diffuse, impatient 
noise, like that produced by beating your 
hand with a whisk-broom, when the farm- 
dog has discovered his retreat in the stone 
fence." Rowland Robinson tells us that: 
" The voiceless creature sometimes fright- 
ens the belated farm-boy, whom he curi- 
ously follows with a mysterious hollow 
beating of his feet upon the ground/ 7 
Thoreau, as has been mentioned, heard 
one keep up a " fine grunting, like a little 
pig or a squirrel "; but he seems to have 

misunderstood altogether a singular loud 
patting sound heard repeatedly on the 
frozen ground under the wall, which he 
also listened to, for he thought it " had to 
do with getting its food, patting the earth 
to get the insects or worms." Probably he 
would have omitted this guess if he could 
have edited his diary instead of leaving 
that to be done after his death. The pat- 
ting is evidently merely a nervous sign of 
impatience or apprehension, similar to the 
well-known stamping with the hind feet 
indulged in by rabbits, in this case prob- 
ably a menace like a doubling of the fists, 
as the hind legs, with which they kick, 
are their only weapons. The skunk, then, 
is not voiceless, but its voice is weak and 
querulous, and it is rarely if ever heard ex- 
cept in the expression of anger. 


General Biological Supply House, Chicago 

A raccoon. In the picture the heavy dark portion over the top of his head is caused by a 
shadow but he does have a black mask across his eyes 


None other of our little brothers of the 
forest has such a mischievous countenance 
as the coon. The black patch across the 

face and surrounding the eyes like large 
goggles, and the black line extending from 
the long, inquisitive nose directly up the 



forehead give the coon's face an anxious 
expression; and the keenness of the big, 
beady, black eyes and the alert, " sassy " 
looking, broadly triangular ears, convince 
one that the anxiety depicted in the face 
is anxiety lest something that should not 
be done be left undone; and I am sure 
that anyone who has had experience with 
pet coons will aver that their acts do not 
belie their looks. 

What country child, wandering by the 
brook and watching its turbulence in early 
spring, has not viewed with awe a foot- 
print on the muddy banks looking as if 
it were made by the foot of a very little 
baby? The first one I ever saw I promptly 
concluded was made by the foot of a brook 
fairy. However, the coon is no fairy; it is 
a rather heavy, logy animal and, like the 
bear and skunk, is plantigrade, walking on 
the entire foot instead of on the toes, like 
a cat or dog. The hind foot is long, with 
a well-marked heel, and five comparatively 
short toes, giving it a remarkable resem- 
blance to a human foot. The front foot 
is smaller and looks like a wide, little hand, 
with four long fingers and a rather short 
thumb. The claws are strong and sharp. 
The soles of the feet and the palms of the 
hands look as if they were covered with 
black kid, while the feet above and the 
backs of the hands are covered with short 
fur. Coon tracks are likely to be found dur- 

ing the thawing days of winter, along some 
stream or the borders of swamps, often 
following the path made by cattle. The 
full-length track is about two inches long; 
as the coon puts the hind foot in the 
track made by the front foot on the same 
side, only the print of the hind feet is 
left, showing plainly five toe prints and 
the heel. The tracks may vary from one- 
half inch to one foot or more apart de- 
pending on how fast the animal is going; 
when it runs it goes on its toes, but when 
walking it sets the heel down; the tracks 
are not in so straight a line as those made 
by the cat. Sometimes it goes at a slow 
jump, when the prints of the hind feet 
are paired, and between and behind them 
are the prints of the two front feet. 

The coon is covered with long, rather 
coarse hair, so long as almost to drag when 
the animal is walking; it really has two 
different kinds of hair, the long, coarse, 
gray hair, blackened at the tips, covering 
the fine, short, grayish or brownish under- 
coat. The very handsome bushy tail is 
ringed with black and gray. 

The raccoon feeds on almost anything 
eatable, except herbage. It has a special 
predilection for corn in the milk stage 
and, in attaining this sweet and tooth- 
some luxury, it strips down the husks and 
often breaks the plant, doing much dam- 
age. It is also fond of poultry and often 
raids hen houses; it also destroys birds' 
nests and the young, thus doing harm to 
the farmer by killing both domestic and 
wild birds. It is especially fond of fish and 
is an adept at sitting on the shore and 
catching them with its hands; it likes tur- 
tle eggs, crayfish, and snakes; it haunts the 
bayous of the Gulf Coast for the oysters 
which grow there; it is also a skillful frog 
catcher. Although fond of animal diet, 
it is also fond of fruit, especially of berries 
and wild grapes. It usually chooses for a 
home a hollow tree or a cavern in a ledge 
near a stream, because of its liking for 
water creatures. 

Coons when in captivity have been 
known to wash their meat before eating 
it. I have watched a pet coon perform this 
act; he would take a piece of meat in his 



hands, dump it into the pan of drinking 
water and souse it up and down a few 
times; then he would get into the pan with 
his splay feet and roll the meat beneath 
and between them, meanwhile looking 
quite unconcernedly at his surroundings, 
as if washing the meat were an act too me- 
chanical to occupy his mind. After the 
meat had been soaked until it was white 
and flabby, he would take it in his hands 
and hang onto it with a tight grip while he 
pulled off pieces with his teeth; or some- 
times he would hold it with his feet, and 
use hands as well as teeth in tearing it 
apart. The coon's teeth are very much 
like those of the cat, having long, sharp 
tushes or canines, and sharp, wedge-shaped 
grinding teeth, which cut as well as grind. 
After eating, the pet coon always washed 
his feet by splashing them in the pan. 

It is an amusing sight to watch a coon 
arrange itself for a nap, on a branch or 
in the fork of a tree; it adapts its fat body 
to the unevenness of the bed with ap- 
parent comfort; it then tucks its nose 
down between its paws and curls its tail 
about itself, making a huge, furry ball. 
In all probability, the rings of gray and 
black on the tail serve as protective color 
to the animal sleeping in a tree during 
the daytime, when sunshine and shadow 
glance down between the leaves with ever- 
changing light. The coon spends much 
of its day asleep in some such situation, 
and comes forth at night to seek its food. 

In the fall, the coon lays on fat enough 
to last it during its winter sleep. Usually 
several inhabit the same nest in winter, 
lying curled up together in a hollow tree, 
and remain dormant during the most se- 
vere weeks of winter, coming out during 
periods of thaw. 

The young are born in April; there are 
from three to six in a litter; they are blind 
and helpless at first, and are cared for 
carefully by their parents; the family re- 
mains together until fall. If removed from 
their parents the young ones cry pitifully, 
almost like babies. The cry or whistle of 
the fully grown coon is anything but a 
happy sound, and is quite impossible to 
describe. I have been awakened by it many 

a night in camp, and it always sounded 
strange, taking on each time new quavers 
and whimperings. As a cry, it is first cousin 
to that of the screech owl. 

The stories of pet coons are many. I 
knew one which, chained in a yard, would 
lie curled up near its post looking like an 
innocent stone except for one eye kept 
watchfully open. Soon a hen filled with 
curiosity would come warily near, look- 
ing longingly at remains of food in the 
pan; the coon would make no move until 
the disarmed biddy had come close to the 
pan. Then there would be a scramble 
and a squawk and with astonishing celerity 
he would wring her neck and strip off her 
feathers. Another pet coon was allowed 
to range over the house at will, and finally 
had to be sent away because he had 
learned to open every door in the house, 
including cupboard doors, and could also 
open boxes and drawers left unlocked; and 
I have always believed he could have 
learned to unlock drawers if he had been 
given the key. All coons are very curious, 
and one way of trapping them is to sus- 
pend above the trap a bit of bright tin; in 
studying this glittering mystery, they for 
get all about traps. 

Series, by Fannie W. Dunn and Eleanor 

Marion E. Wesp 

This pet raccoon is angry because she has 
been taken from the shoulder of her mistress 
and placed on a post to have her picture taken 


Troxell, Book i, Baby Animals, Book 3, 
In Field and Forest; The Museum Comes 
to Life, by Maribelle Cormack and Wil- 
liam P. Alexander; The Pet Boole, by Anna 
B. Comstock; Ringtail, by Alice C. Gall 
and F. H. Crew; also, readings on page 214. 


LEADING THOUGHT The raccoon lives 
in hollow trees OT caves along the banks 
of streams. It sleeps during the day and 
seeks its food at night. It sleeps during 
the winter. 

METHOD If there are raccoons in the 
vicinity, ask the older boys to look for 
their tracks near the streams and to de- 
scribe them very carefully to the class. 
The ideal method of studying the animal 
is to have a pet coon where the children 
may watch at leisure its entertaining and 
funny performances. If this is impossible, 
then follow the less desirable method of 
having the pupils read about the habits 
of the coon and thus arouse their interest 
and open their eyes, so that they may make 
observations of their own when oppor- 
tunity offers. I would suggest the follow- 
ing topics for oral or written work in 

"How and Where Coons Live and 
What They Do "; " The Autobiography 
of a Coon One Year Old "; " The Queer 
Antics of Pet Coons "; " Stories of the 
Coon's Relative, the Bear/ 7 

OBSERVATIONS i. Where have you 
found raccoon tracks? How do they differ 
from those of fox or dog? How far are the 
foot prints apart? Can you see the heel 
and toe prints? Do you see the tracks of 
all four feet? Are the tracks in a straight 
line like those of the cat? What is the 
size of the track, the length, the breadth? 

2. What do coons eat and how do they 
get their food? Which of our crops are 
they likely to damage? What other dam- 
age do they do? Have you ever heard coons 
cry or whistle during August nights in the 

3. Why do raccoons like to live near 
the water? What do they find of interest 
there? How do they prepare their meat 
before eating it? How does a coon handle 
its meat while eating it? 

4. What kind of fur has the coon? Why 
does it need such a heavy covering? De- 
scribe the color of the fur. Describe the 
tail. Of what use is such a large and bushy 
tail to this animal? 

5. Describe the coon's face. How is it 
marked? What is its expression? Describe 
the eyes, ears, and nose. Has it teeth re- 
sembling those of the cat and dog? 

6. Describe the coon's feet. How many 
toes on the front feet? How many on the 
hind feet? How does this differ from the 
cat and dog? How clo the front and hind 
feet differ in appearance? Can both be 
used as hands? 

7. How do coons arrange themselves 
for a nap in a tree? How do they cover 
the head? How is the tail used? Do you 
think this bushy tail used in this way 
would help to keep the animal warm in 
winter? Do coons sleep most by day or by 

8. At what time of year are coons fat- 
test? Leanest? Why? Do they ever come 
out of their nests in winter? Do they live 
together or singly in winter? 

9. At what time of year are the young 
coons born? Do you know how they look 
when they are young? How are they cared 
for by their parents? 

10. Are the coon's movements slow or 
fast? What large animal is a near relative 
of the coon? 


The study of the wolf should precede 
the lessons on the fox and the dog. After 
becoming familiar with the habits of 
wolves, the pupils will be much better 
able to understand the nature of the dog 

and its life as a wild animal. In most lo- 
calities, the study of the wolf must, of 
course, be a matter of reading, unless the 
pupils have an opportunity to study the 
animal in zoological gardens. 


It might be well to begin this lesson 
on the wolf with a talk about the gray 
wolves which our ancestors had to con- 
tend with, and also with stories of the 
coyote or prairie wolf which has learned 
to adapt itself to civilization and flourishes 
in the regions west of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, despite men and dogs. Literature is 
rich in wolf stories. Although Kipling's 
famous Mowgli Stories belong to the 
realm of fiction, yet they contain inter- 
esting accounts of the habits of the wolves 
of India, and are based upon the hunter's 
and tracker's knowledge of these animals. 
We have many thrillingly interesting sto- 
ries in our own literature which deal with 
our native wolves. Some of the best are 
noted in the suggested reading at the end 
of this section. 

K H. McCleery 

Wolves, seldom seen now, once ranged over 
many parts of North America 

Leonard K. Beyer 

A captive wolf 

From some or all of these stories, the 
pupils should get information about the 
habits of the wolves. This information 
may be incorporated in an essay or an 
oral exercise and should cover the follow- 
ing points: Where do the wolves live? 
On what do they feed? How do they get 
their prey? How do they call to each 
other? Description of the den where the 
young are reared. The wolfs cleverness 
in eluding hunters and traps. 

Lives of the Hunted, and Wild Animals 
I Have Known, all by Ernest Thompson 
Seton; Watched by Wild Animals, by 
Enos A. Mills; also, readings on page 214. 


Do we not always, on a clear morning 
of winter, feel a thrill that must have 
something primitive in its quality at see- 
ing certain tracks in the snow that some- 
how suggest wildness and freedom! Such 
is the track of the fox. Although it is 
somewhat like that of a small dog, yet it 
is very different. The fox has longer legs 
than most dogs of his weight, and there 
is more of freedom in his track and more 
of strength and agility expressed in it. His 
gait is usually an easy lope; this places the 

imprint of three feet in a line, one ahead 
of another, but the fourth is off a little 
at one side, as if to keep the balance. 

The fox lives in a den or burrow. The 
only fox home which I ever saw was a 
rather deep cave beneath the roots of a 
sturnp, and there was no burrow or retreat 
beyond it. However, foxes often select 
woodchuck burrows, or make burrows of 
their own, and if they are caught within, 
they can dig rapidly, as many a hunter can 
attest. The mother usually selects an open 


Red fox cubs 

place as a den for the young foxes; often 
an open field or sidehill is chosen for 
this. The den is carpeted with grass and 
is a very comfortable place for the fox 

The face of the red fox shows plainly 
why he has been able to cope with man, 
and thrive despite and because of him. 
If ever a face showed cunning, it is his. 
Its pointed, slender nose gives it an ex- 
pression of extreme cleverness, while the 
width of the head between the upstand- 
ing, triangular ears gives room for a brain 
of power. In color the fox is russet-red, the 
hind quarters being grayish. The legs are 
black outside and white inside; the throat 
is white, and the broad, triangular ears are 
tipped with black. The glory of the fox is 
his " brush/' as the beautiful, bushy tail 
is called. This is red, with black toward 
the end and is white-tipped. This tail is 
not merely for beauty, for it affords the fox 
warmth during the winter, as anyone who 
has observed the way it is wrapped around 
the sleeping animal may see. But this 
bushy tail is a disadvantage, if it becomes 
bedraggled and heavy with snow and 
sleet, when the hounds are giving close 
chase to its owner. The silver fox and the 
black fox are color phases of the red fox. 

The fox is an inveterate hunter of the 
animals of the field; meadow mice, rab- 
bits, woodchucks, frogs, snakes, and grass- 
hoppers are all acceptable food; he is also 
destructive of birds. His fondness for the 
latter has given him a bad reputation with 
the farmer because of his attacks on poul- 
try. Not only will he raid hen-roosts if 
he can force entrance, but he catches 
many fowls in the summer when they are 
wandering through the fields. The way 
he carries the heavy burden of his larger 

prey shows his cleverness: he slings a hen 
or a goose over his shoulders, keeping the 
head in his mouth to steady the burden. 
Mr. Cram says, in American Animals: 

" Yet, although the farmer and the fox 
are such inveterate enemies, they manage 
to benefit each other in a great many ways 
quite unintentionally. The fox destroys 
numberless field mice and woodchucks 
for the farmer and in return the farmer 
supplies him with poultry, and builds con- 
venient bridges over streams and wet 
places, which the fox crosses oftener than 
the farmer, for he is as sensitive as a cat 
about getting his feet wet. On the whole, 
I am inclined to believe that the fox gets 
the best part of the exchange, for, while 
the farmer shoots at him on every occa- 
sion, and hunts him with dogs in the win- 
ter, he has cleared the land of wolves and 
panthers, so that foxes are probably safer 
than before any land was ploughed. 7 ' 

The bark of the fox is a high, sharp 
yelp, more like the bark of the coyote 
than of the dog. There is no doubt a con- 
siderable range of meaning in the fox's 
language, of which we are ignorant. He 
growls when angry, and when pleased he 
smiles like a dog and wags his beautiful 

Many are the wiles of the fox to mislead 
dogs following his track: he often retraces 
his own steps for a few yards and then 
makes a long sidewise jump; the dogs go 
on, up to the end of the trail pocket, and 
try in vain to get the scent from that point. 
Sometimes he walks along the top rails 
of fences or takes the high and dry ridges 
where the scent will not remain; he often 

Verne Morton 

The attentive ears and bright eyes of these 
fox cubs show a keen interest in their sur- 



follows roads and beaten paths and also 
goes around and around in the midst of 
a herd of cattle or sheep so that his scent 
is hidden; he crosses streams on logs and 
invents various other devices too numer- 
ous and intricate to describe. When 
chased by dogs, he naturally runs in a 
circle, probably so as not to be too far 
from home. If there are young ones in the 
den, the father fox leads the hounds far 
away, into the next county if possible. 
Perhaps one of the most clever tricks of 
the fox is to make friends with the dogs. 
I have known of two instances where a 
dog and fox were daily companions and 

The young foxes are born in the spring. 
They are gray and woolly at first and are 
fascinating little creatures, being exceed- 
ingly playful and active. Their parents are 
very devoted to them, and during all their 
puppyhood the mother fox is a menace 
to the poultry of the region, because the 
necessity of feeding her rapidly growing 
litter is upon her. 

Silver Fox, by Ernest Thompson Seton; 
The Fall of the Year, by Dallas L. Sharp; 
Mother Nature Series, by Fannie W. 
Dunn and Eleanor Troxell, Book i, Baby 
Animals; The Pet Boofc, by Anna B. Corn- 
stock; Red Fox, by Charles G. D. Roberts; 
Skinny, the Gray Fox, by Agnes A. At- 
kinson; Sprite, the Story of a Red Fox, 
by Ernest H. Baynes; Wild Animals I 
Have Known, by Ernest Thompson Seton; 
also, readings on page 214. 

THE Fox 

LEADING THOUGHT The red fox is so 
clever that it has been able, in many parts 
of our country, to maintain itself despite 
dogs and men. 

METHOD This lesson is likely to be 
given largely from hearsay or reading. 
However, if the school is in a rural district, 
there will be plenty of hunters' stories 

afloat, from which may be elicited facts 
concerning the cunning and cleverness of 
the red fox. In such places there is also 
the opportunity in winter to study fox 
tracks upon the snow. The lesson may well 
be given when there are fox tracks for 
observation. The close relationship be- 
tween foxes and dogs should be empha- 

OBSERVATIONS i . Describe the fox's 
track. How does it differ from the track 
of a small dog? 

2. Where does the fox make its home? 
Describe the den. Describe the den in 
which the young foxes live. 

3. Describe the red fox, its color and 
form, as completely as you can. What is 
the expression of its face? What is there 
peculiar about its tail? What is the use 
of this great bushy tail in the winter? 

4. What is the food of the fox? How 
does it get its food? Is it a day or a night 
hunter? How does the fox benefit the 
farmer? How does it injure him? How 
does the fox carry home its heavy game, 
such as a goose or a hen? 

5. Have you ever heard the fox bark? 
Did it sound like the bark of a dog? How 
does the fox express anger? Pleasure? 

6. When chased by dogs, in what di- 
rection does the fox run? Describe all of 
the tricks which you know by which the 
fox throws the dog off the scent. 

7. When are the young foxes born? 
How many in a litter? What color are 
they? How do they play with each other? 
How do they learn to hunt? 

U. S. Bureau of Biol. Survey 

Silver fox 


National Sportsman 

English setter. This is the famous Brownie's Spot, field trial winner and bench show 



Not only today but in ancient days, be- 
fore the dawn of history, the dog was the 
companion of man. Whether the wild 
species from whence he sprang was wolf 
or jackal or some other similar animal, we 
do not know, but we do know that many 
types of dogs have been tamed independ- 
ently by savages, in the region where their 
untamed relatives run wild. As the whelps 
of wolves, jackals, and foxes are all easily 
tamed, and are most interesting little crea- 
tures, we can understand how they be- 
came companions to the children of the 
savage and barbarous peoples who hunted 

In the earliest records of cave dwellers, 
in the picture writing of the ancient Egyp- 
tians and of other ancient peoples, we find 
record of the presence and value of the 
dog. But man, in historical times, has been 
able to evolve breeds that vary more in 
form than do the wild species of the pres- 
ent. There are 200 distinct breeds of dogs 

known today, and many of these have 
been bred for special purposes. The pale- 
ontologists, moreover, assure us that there 
has been a decided advance in the size 
and quality of the dog's brain since the 
days of his savagery; thus, he has been 
the companion of man's civilization also. 
It is not, therefore, to be wondered at that 
the dog is now the most companionable, 
and has the most human qualities and 
intelligence of all our domesticated 

Dogs run down their prey; it is a neces- 
sity, therefore, that they be equipped with 
legs that are long, strong, and muscular. 
The cat, which jumps for her prey, has 
much more delicate legs but has powerful 
hips to enable her to leap. The dog's feet 
are much more heavily padded than those 
of the cat, because in running he must 
not stop to save his feet. Hounds often 
return from a chase with bleeding feet, 
despite the heavy pads, but the wounds 


are usually cuts between the toes. The 
claws are heavy and are not retractile; thus, 
they afford a protection to the feet when 
running, and they are also used for dig- 
ging out game which burrows into the 
ground. They are not used for grasping 
prey like those of the cat and are used 
only incidentally in fighting, while the 
cat's claws are the most important weap- 
ons in her armory. It is an interesting fact 
that Newfoundland dogs, which are such 

U. S. Dept. Agriculture 

Boston terrier. This small popular breed is 
one of the few to originate in America. It is 
very companionable and highly intelligent 

famous swimmers, have their toes some- 
what webbed. 

The dog's body is long, lean, and very 
muscular, a fat dog being usually pam- 
pered and old. The coat is of hair and is 
not of fine fur like that of the cat. It is 
of interest to note that the Newfoundland 
dog has an inner coat of fine hair com- 
parable to that of the mink or muskrat. 
When a dog is running, his body is ex- 
tended to its fullest length; in fact, it 
seems to " lie flat/ 7 the outstretched legs 
heightening the effect of extreme muscu- 
lar effort of forward movement. A dog 
is master of several gaits; he can run, walk, 
trot, bound, and crawl. 

The iris of the dog's eye is usually of 

U. S. Dept. Agriculture 

Beagle. These hounds hunt individually, in 
pairs, or in packs; they are used chiefly for 
hunting rabbits 

a beautiful brown, although this varies 
with breeds; in puppies, the iris is usually 
blue. The pupil is round like our own; and 
although dogs probably cannot see as well 
in the dark as the cat, they see well at 
night and in daylight they have keen sight. 
The nose is so much more efficient than 
the eyes, that it is on the sense of smell 
the dog depends for following his prey 
and for recognizing friend and foe. The 
damp, soft skin that covers the nose has 
in its dampness the conditions for carry- 
ing the scent to the wide nostrils; these 
are situated at the most forward part of 
the face, and thus may be lifted in any 

U. S. Dept. Agriculture 

Greyhound. This swiftest of all large dogs 
hunts by sight 


St. Bernard. These dogs stand about thirty 
inches high and have an average weight of 
175 pounds 

direction to receive the marvelous impres- 
sions, so completely beyond our compre- 
hension. Think of being able to scent the 
track of a fox made several hours previ- 
ously, and not only to scent it, but to fol- 
low it by scent for many miles without 
ever having a glimpse of the fleeing foe! In 
fact, while running, the dog's attention 
seems to be focused entirely upon the 
sense of smell, for I have seen hounds pass 
within a few rods to the windward of the 
fox they were chasing, without observing 
him at all. Furthermore, according to 
E. H. Baynes, the dog's sense of smell is 
keen enough to distinguish the scent of 
the particular creature he is hunting from 
that of all others, and to distinguish the 
scent of several animals from that of only 
one. He knows the difference between 
foot scent and body scent, and he can 
immediately tell the scent of a wounded 
animal from that of a dead one. He can 
tell, moreover, the direction in which 
foot scent leads, and some dogs, at least, 
can follow a particular trail no matter 
how many other scents have been super- 
imposed upon it. It has been said that 
the sense of smell in dogs, and especially 
in hounds, is so acute that the amount of 
odor required to stimulate the nose is too 
slight to be expressed. When the nose of 
a dog becomes dry it is a sign of illness. 

A light fall of damp snow gives the dog 
the best conditions for following a track 

by scent. A hound, when on the trail, 
will run until exhausted. There are many 
authentic observations which show that 
hounds have followed a fox for twenty- 
four hours without food, and probably 
with little rest. 

Because the dog's sense of smell is so 
important to him, he should never be 
punished by being struck over the nose. 
Nor should he be struck at all about the 
head and ears, lest his hearing be dam- 
aged. A dog is so sensitive to inflections 
and tones of voice that a severe word is 
usually punishment enough; if it seems 
necessary to strike him, he should be 
struck only on the foreshoulders and 
sides. A folded newspaper is good for the 

The dog's weapons for battle, like those 
of the wolf, are his tushes; with these 
he holds and tears his prey; with them he 
seizes the woodchuck or other small ani- 
mal through the back and shakes its life 
out. In fighting a larger animal, the dog 
leaps against it and often incidentally 
tears its flesh with his strong claws; but 
he does not strike a blow with his foot 
like the cat, nor can he hold his quarry 
with it. 

Dogs' teeth are especially fitted for their 
work. The incisors are small and sharp; the 

H. M. Isenhower 

Pointer. These dogs are called pointers be- 
cause of their habit of pointing at the con- 
cealed game birds they have scented. This is 
Isenhower's Flaro, a champion 


canine teeth or tushes are very long, but 
there are bare spaces on the jaws so that 
they are able to cross past each other; the 
molar teeth are not adapted for grinding., 
like the teeth of a cow, but are especially 
fitted for cutting, as may be noted if we 
watch the way a dog gnaws bones, gnaw- 
ing with the back teeth first on one side 
and then on the other. In fact, a dog does 
not seem to need to chew anything, but 
simply needs to cut his meat in small 
enough pieces so that he can gulp them 
down without chewing. His powers of di- 
gesting unchewed food are something that 
the hustling American may well envy. 

Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Page 

Beagle pups. Beagles are small models of 
foxhounds; they are not so swift as foxhounds, 
but seem to have a keener sense of smell 

Of all domestic animals, the dog is most 
humanly understandable in expressing 
emotions. If delighted, he leaps about giv- 
ing ecstatic little barks and squeals, his 
tail in the air and his eyes full of happy 
anticipation. If he wishes to be friendly, 
he looks at us interestedly, comes over to 
smell of us in order to assure himself 
whether he has ever met us before, and 
then wags his tail as a sign of good faith. 
If he wishes to show affection, he leaps 
upon us and licks our face or hands with 
his soft, deft tongue and follows us jeal- 
ously. When he stands at attention he 
holds his tail stiff in the air, and looks 
up with one ear lifted as if to say, " Well, 
what's doing? " When angry, he growls 
and shows his teeth and the tail is held 
rigidly out behind, as if to convince us 

Helen F. Hill 

English springer spaniel. No other family 
of dogs contains so many recognized breeds 
as the spaniel family seven hunting and 
two^ toy breeds. Formerly these dogs were 
trained to flush or " spring " the game so that 
swifter dogs or falcons could catch it; today 
they are popular as all-purpose dogs 

The Seeing Eye, Inc. 

A Seeing^ Eye dog. The training of dogs to 
lead the blind began in the United States; the 
same methods have now become popular in 
Europe. The Seeing Eye has headquarters in 
New York City 


that it is really a continuation of his back- Baynes; The Story of Scotch, by Enos A. 
bone. When afraid, he whines and lies flat Mills; Stickeen; the Story of a Dog, by 

1 1 ,- f^ T-> .* ^ T-* ^-vl 1 _ . * .1 !_!_' _ 1 _ 1 * 1 T 1 ~\ IT TTrr-TTA 1 TTTT T s- 

upon his belly, often looking beseechingly 
up toward his master as if begging not to 

H. M. Isenhower 

English pointer pups 

be punished; or he crawls away out of 
sight. When ashamed, he drops his tail 
between his legs and with drooping head 
and sidewise glance slinks away. When ex- 
cited, he barks and every bark expresses 
high nervous tension. 

Almost all dogs that chase their prey 
bark when so doing. This action would at 
first sight seem foolish, in that it reveals 
their whereabouts to their victims and 
also adds an incentive to flight. These 
dogs have been trained through many 
generations and have been selected be- 
cause of various peculiarities; a good fox 
hound, coon hound, or rabbit hound 
barks in order to tell the hunter, not only 
where it is but what it is doing. A certain 
kind of bark may indicate to the hunter 
that the game is " treed " or chased into 
a hole. 

Most breeds of clogs have an acute 
sense of hearing. When a dog bays at the 
moon or howls when he hears music, it 
is simply a reversion to the wild habit of 
howling to call together the pack or in 
answer " to the music of the pack/ 7 It is 
interesting that our music, which is the 
flower of our civilization, should awaken 
the sleeping ancestral traits in the canine 
breast. But perhaps that, too, is why we 
respond to music, because it awakens in 
us the strong, primitive emotions, and for 
the time enables us to free ourselves from 
all conventional shackles and trammels. 

Dogs, by James G. Lawson; Call of the 
Wild, by Jack London; Mother Nature 
Series, by Fannie W. Dunn and Eleanor 
Troxell, Book i, Baby Animals; The Pet 
Boole, by Anna B. Comstock; Polaris, the 
Story of an Eskimo Dog, by Ernest H. 

John Muir; Wild Animals I Have Known, 
Animal Heroes, and Lives of the Hunted^ 
all by Ernest Thompson Seton; A Friend 
in the Dark, by Ruth A. Knight; also, 
readings on page 214. 


LEADING THOUGHT The dog is a do- 
mesticated descendant of wolflike ani- 
mals and has retained certain of the habits 
and characteristics of his ancestors. 

METHOD For the observation lesson 
it would be well to have at hand a well- 
disposed dog which would not object to 
being handled; a collie or a hound would 
be preferable. Many of the questions 
should be given to the pupils to answer 
from observations at home, and the lesson 
should be built upon the experience of 
the pupils with dogs. 

OBSERVATIONS i. Why are the legs 
of the dog compared with those of the 
cat long and strong in proportion to the 

2, Compare the feet of the cat with 
those of the dog and note which has the 
heavier pads. Why is this of use to each? 

3. Which has the stronger and heavier 

Leonard K. Beyer 

Collie. This breed of dogs shows great in- 
telligence in the herding of various kinds of 
domestic animals; it has long been used in 
Scotland, but its popularity has spread to 
many other countries. The one pictured here 
is not today the show type 


claws, the dog or the cat? Can the dog 
retract his claws so that they are not visi- 
ble, as does the cat? Of what use is this 
arrangement to the dog? Are the front 
feet just like the hind feet? How many 
toe impressions show in the track of the 

4. What is the general characteristic of 
the body of the dog? Is it soft like that 
of the cat, or lean and muscular? What 
is the difference between the hair cover- 
ing of the dog and the cat? What is the 

Klondike Jack. The dog that pulled four 
hundred fifty pounds five hundred miles 
through the White Horse Pass in the winter 
of the first gold excitement in Alaska 

attitude of the dog when running fast? 
How many kinds of gaits has he? 

5. In general, how do the eyes of the 
dog differ from those of the cat? Does he 
rely as much upon his eyes for finding his 
prey as does the cat? Can a dog see in 
the dark? What is the color of the dog's 

6. Study the ear of the dog; is it cov- 
ered? Is this outer ear movable, is it a flap, 
or is it cornucopia-shaped? How is this flap 
used when the dog is listening? Roll a 
sheet of paper into a flaring tube and place 
the small end upon your own ear, and 
note if it helps you to hear better the 
sounds in the direction toward which the 
tube opens. Note how the hound lifts his 
long earlaps, so as to make a tube for con- 
veying sounds to his inner ear. Do you 
think that dogs can hear well? 

7. What is the position of the nose in 
the dog's face? Of what use is this? De- 

Mr, and Airs. J. W. Page 

English setter. This breed originated in 
England from a cross between a field spaniel 
and a pointer 

scribe the nostrils; are they placed on the 
foremost point of the face? What is the 
condition of the skin that surrounds them? 
How does this condition of the nose aid 
the dog? What other animals have it? 
Does the dog recognize his friends or be- 
come acquainted with strangers by means 
of his sight or of his powers of smelling? 
8. How long after a fox or rabbit has 
passed can a hound follow the track? Does 

St. Bernard, This breed of huge dogs was 
developed by monks in the Swiss Alps to aid 
in the rescue of people lost in the mountains 



he follow it by sight or by smell? What are 
the conditions most favorable for retain- 
ing the scent? The most unfavorable? 
How long will a hound follow a fox trail 
without stopping for rest or food? Do you 
think the dog is your superior in ability 
to smell? 

9. How does a dog seize and kill his 
prey? How does he use his feet and claws 
when fighting? What are his especially 
strong weapons? Describe a dog's teeth 
and explain the reason for the bare spaces 
on the jaw next to the tushes. Does the 
dog use his tushes when chewing? What 
teeth does he use when gnawing a bone? 
Make a diagram of the arrangement of 
the dog's teeth. 

10. How by action, voice, and especially 
by the movement of the tail does the dog 
express the following emotions: delight, 
friendliness, affection, attention, anger, 
fear, shame, excitement? How does he act 
when chasing his prey? Why do wolves 

and dogs bark when following the trail? 
Do you think of a reason why dogs often 
howl at night or when listening to music? 
What should we feed to our pet dogs? 
What should we do to make them com- 
fortable in other ways? 

11. Tell or write a story of some dog 
of which you know by experience or hear- 
say. Of what use was the dog to the pio- 
neer? How are dogs used in the Arctic 
regions? In Holland? 

12. How many breeds of dogs do you 
know? Describe these breeds as follows: 
The length of the legs as compared with 
the body; the general shape of the body, 
head, ears, nose; color and character of 
hair on head, body, and tail. 

13. Find if you can the reasons which 
have led to the developing of the fol- 
lowing breeds: Newfoundland, St. Ber- 
nard, mastiffs, hounds, collies, spaniels, 
setters, pointers, bulldogs, terriers, and 

A cat family 

Verne Morton 


Of all people, the writer should regard 
the cat sympathetically, for when she was 
a baby of five months she was adopted by 
a cat. My self-elected foster-mother was 

Jenny, a handsome black and white cat, 
which at that time lost her first litter of 
kittens, through the attack of a savage 
cat from the woods. She was as Rachel 



crying for her children, when she seemed 
suddenly to comprehend that I, although 
larger than she, was an infant. She haunted 
my cradle, trying to give me milk from her 
own breasts; and later she brought half- 
killed mice and placed them enticingly in 
my cradle, coaxing me to play with them, 
a performance which pleased me much 
more than it did my real mother. Jenny 
always came to comfort me when I cried, 
rubbing against me, purring loudly, and 
licking me with her tongue in a way to 
drive mad the modern mother, wise as to 
the sources of children's internal parasites. 
This maternal attitude toward me lasted 
as long as Jenny lived, which was until I 
was nine years old. Never during those 
years did I lift my voice in wailing, that she 
did not come to comfort me; and even to- 
day I can remember how great that com- 
fort was, especially when my naughtiness 
was the cause of my weeping, and when, 
therefore, I felt that the whole world, ex- 
cept Jenny, was against me. 

Jenny was a cat of remarkable intelli- 
gence and was very obedient and useful. 
Coming down the kitchen stairs one day, 
she played with the latch, and someone 
who heard her opened the door. She did 
this several times, when one day she 
chanced to push down the latch, and thus 

Folks are so tiresome! " 


opened the door herself. After that, she 
always opened it herself. A little later, 
she tried the trick on other doors, and 
soon succeeded in opening all the latched 
doors in the house, by thrusting one front 
leg through the handle, and thus support- 
ing her weight and pressing down with 
the foot of the other on the thumb-piece 
of the latch. I remember that guests were 
greatly astonished to see her coming thus 
swinging into the sitting room. Later she 
tried the latches from the other side, jump- 
ing up and trying to lift the hook; but 
now, her weight was thrown against the 
wrong side of the door for opening, and 
she soon ceased this futile waste of energy; 
but for several years, she let herself into 
all the rooms in this clever manner, and 
taught a few of her bright kittens to do 
the same. 

A pet cat enjoys long conversations with 
favored members of the household. She 
will sit in front of her mistress and mew, 
with every appearance of answering the 
questions addressed her; and since the cat 
and the mistress each knows her own part 
of the conversation, it is perhaps more 
typical of society chatter than we might 
like to confess. Of our language, the cat 
learns to understand the call to food, its 
own name, " Scat/ 7 and " No, No," prob- 
ably inferring the meaning of the latter 
from the tone of voice. On the other hand, 
we understand when it asks to go out, and 
its polite recognition to the one who opens 
the door. I knew one cat which invariably 
thanked us when we let him in as well as 
out. When the cat is hungry, it mews 
pleadingly; when happy in front of the 



Marion E. Wesp 

On the doorstep 

fire, it looks at us sleepily out of half-closed 
eyes and gives a short mew expressive of 
affection and content; or it purrs, a noise 
which we do not know how to imitate 
and which expresses perfectly the happi- 
ness of intimate companionship. When 
frightened the cat yowls, and when hurt 
it squalls shrilly; when fighting, it is like 
a savage warrior in that it howls a war- 
song in blood-curdling strains, punctuated 
with a spitting expressive of fear and con- 
tempt; and unfortunately, its love song is 
scarcely less agonizing to the listener. The 
cat's whole body enters into the expres- 
sion of its emotions. When feeling affec- 
tionate toward its mistress, it rubs against 
her gown, with tail erect, and vibrating 
with a purr which seems fundamental. 
When angry, it lays its ears back and 
lashes its tail back and forth, the latter 
being a sign of excitement; when fright- 
ened, its hair stands on end, especially 
the hair of the tail, making that expressive 
appendage twice its natural size; when 
caught in disobedience, the cat lets its 
tail droop, and when running lifts it in a 

While we feed cats milk and scraps 
from our own table, they have never be- 
come entirely civilized in their tastes. 
They always catch mice and other small 
animals and prove pestiferous in destroy- 
ing birds. Jenny was wont to bring her 
quarry, as an offering, to the front steps 
of our home every night; one morning 
we found seven mice, a cotton-tail rabbit 

and two snakes, which represented her 
night's catch. The cat never chases its 
prey like the dog. It discovers the haunts 
of its victims and then lies in ambush, 
flattened out as still as a statue and all its 
feet beneath it, ready to make the spring. 
The weight of the body is a factor which 
enters into the blow with which the cat 
strikes down and stuns its victim, which 
it later kills by gripping the throat with 
the strong tushes. It carries its victims as 
it does its kittens, by the back. 

The cat's legs are not long compared 
with the body, and it runs with a leaping 
gallop; the upper legs are armed with pow- 
erful muscles. It walks on the padded toes, 
five on the front feet and four on the hind 
feet. The cat needs its claws to be sharp 
and hooked, in order to seize and hold its 
prey, so they are kept safely sheathed 
when not thus used. If the claws struck 
the earth during walking, as do the dog's, 
they would soon become dulled. When 
sharpening its claws it reaches high up 
against a tree or post, and strikes them into 
the wood with a downward scratch; this 
act is probably more for exercising the 
muscles which control the claws than for 
sharpening them. 

John W. Decker 




The cat's track is in a single line as if 
it had only two feet, one set directly ahead 
of the other. It accomplishes this by set- 
ting its hind feet exactly in the tracks 
made by the front feet. The cat can easily 
leap upward, landing on a window-sill five 
feet from the ground. The jump is made 
with the hind legs and the alighting is 
done silently on the front feet. 

Cats 7 eyes are adapted better than ours 
for seeing in the dim light; in the daytime 
the pupil is simply a narrow, up and down 
slit; under excitement, and at night, the 
pupil covers almost the entire eye. At the 
back of the eye is a reflecting surface, 
which catches such light as there is, and 
by reflecting it enables the cat to use it 
twice. It is this reflected light which gives 
the peculiar green glare to the eyes of all 
the cats when seen in the dark. Some 
night-flying moths have a like arrange- 
ment for utilizing the light, and their eyes 
glow like living coals. Of course, since the 
cat is a night hunter, this power of multi- 
plying the rays of light is of great use. 
The iris of the eye is usually yellow, but in 
kittens it may be blue or green. 

The cat's teeth are peculiarly fitted for 
its needs. The six doll-like incisors of the 
upper and lower jaw are merely for scrap- 
ing meat from bones. The two great 
tushes, or canines, on each jaw, with a 
bare place behind so that they pass each 
other freely, are sharp, and are for seizing 
and carrying prey. The cat is able to open 
its mouth as wide as a right angle, in order 

Marion E. Wesp 

An aristocrat 

Amicable advances 

better to hold and carry prey. The back 
teeth, or molars, are four on each side 
in the upper jaw and three below. They 
are sharp-edged wedges made for cutting 
meat fine enough so that it may be 

The tongue is covered with sharp pa- 
pillae directed backwards, also used for 
rasping juices from meat. The cat's nose 
is moist, and her sense of smell very keen, 
as is also her sense of hearing. The ears 
rise like two hollow half-cones on either 
side of the head and are filled with sensi- 
tive hairs; they ordinarily open forward,, 
but are capable of movement. The cat's 
whiskers consist of from twenty-five to 
thirty long hairs set in four lines, above 
and at the sides of the mouth; they are 
connected with sensitive nerves and are 
therefore true feelers. The cat's fur is very 
fine and thick, and is also sensitive, as can 
readily be proved, by trying to stroke it 
the wrong way. While the wild cats have 
gray or tawny fur, variously mottled or 
shaded, the more striking colors we see 
in the domestic cats are the result of man's 

Cats are very cleanly in their habits. 
Puss always washes her face directly after 
eating, using one paw for a washcloth and 
licking it clean after she rubs her face. 


She cleans her fur with her rough tongue 
and also by biting; and she promptly buries 
objectionable matter. The mother cat is 
very attentive to the cleanliness of her 
kittens, licking them clean from nose tip 
to tail tip. The ways of the mother cat 
with her kittens do much to sustain the 
assertions of Mr. Seton and Mr. Long that 
young animals are trained and educated 
by their parents. The cat brings half-dazed 
mice to her kittens, that they may learn 
to follow and catch them with their own 

This cat has been trained to be friendly with 

little claws. When she punishes them, she 
cuffs the ears by holding one side of the 
kitten's head firm with the claws of one 
foot, while she lays on the blows with the 
other. She carries her kittens by the nape 
of the neck, never hurting them. She takes 
them into the field when they are old 
enough, and shows them the haunts of 
mice, and does many things for their edu- 
cation and welfare. The kittens meantime 
train themselves to agility and dexterity, 
by playing rough and tumble with each 
other, and by chasing every small moving 
object, even to their own tails. 

The cat loves warmth and finds her 
place beneath the stove or at the hearth- 
side. She likes some people, and dislikes 
others, for no reason we can detect. She 
can be educated to be friendly with dogs 
and with birds. In feeding her, we should 
give her plenty of sweet milk, some cooked 
meat, and fish, of which she is very fond; 
and we should keep a bundle of catnip to 
make her happy, for even the larger cats 

of the wilderness seem to have a passion- 
ate liking for this herb. The cat laps milk 
with her rough tongue, and when eating 
meat, she turns the head this way and 
that, to cut the tough muscle with her 
back teeth. 


Every owner of a cat owes it to the 
world to train Puss to leave birds alone. 
If this training is begun during kitten- 
hood, by switching the culprit every time 
it even looks at a bird, it will soon learn 
to leave them severely alone. I have tried 
this many times, and I know it is effica- 
cious, if the cat is intelligent. We have 
never had a cat whose early training we 
controlled, that could ever be induced 
even to watch birds. If a cat is not thus 
trained as a kitten, it is likely to be always 
treacherous in this respect. But in case any 
one has a valuable cat which is given to 
catching birds, I strongly advise the fol- 
lowing treatment which has been proved 
practicable by a friend of mine. When a 
cat has made the catch, take the bird 
away and sprinkle it with red pepper, and 
then give it back. One such treatment as 
this resulted in making one cat, which 
was an inveterate bird hunter, run and 
hide every time he saw a bird thereafter. 
Any persons taking cats with them to their 
summer homes, and abandoning them 
there to prey upon the birds of the vicinity, 
and to become poor, half-starved, wild 
creatures, ought to be arrested and fined. 
It is not only cruelty to the cats, but it 
is positive injury and damage to the com- 
munity, because of the slaughter of many 
beneficial and beautiful birds which it en- 

by Ernest Thompson Seton; Baby Ani- 
mals on the Farm, by Kate E. Agnew and 
Margaret Coble; The Blot: Little City 
Cat, by Phyllis Crawford; Mother Nature 
Series, by Fannie W. Dunn and Eleanor 
Troxell, Book i, Baby Animals; The Pet 
Book, by Anna B. Comstock; also, read- 
ings on page 214. 


LEADING THOUGHT The cat was made 
a domestic animal before man wrote his- 
tories. It gets prey by springing from am- 
bush and is fitted by form of body and 
teeth to do this. It naturally hunts at night 
and has eyes fitted to see in the dark. 

METHOD This lesson may be used in 
primary grades by asking a few questions 
at a time and allowing the children to 
make their observations on their own kit- 
tens at home, or a kitten may be brought 
to school for this purpose. The upper grade 
work consists of reading and retelling or 
writing exciting stories of the great, wild, 
savage cats, like the tiger, lion, leopard, 
lynx, and panther. 

OBSERVATIONS i. How much of Pus- 
sy's language do you understand? What 
does she say when she wishes you to 
open the door for her? How does she 
ask for something to eat? What does she 
say when she feels like conversing with 
you? How does she cry when hurt? When 
frightened? What noise does she make 
when fighting? When calling other cats? 
What are her feelings when she purrs? 
When she spits? How many things which 
you say does she understand? 

2. How else than by voice does she ex- 
press affection, pleasure, and anger? When 
she carries her tail straight up in the air 
is she in a pleasant mood? WTien her tail 
" bristles up " how does she feel? What 
is it a sign of, when she lashes her tail 
back and forth? 

3. What do you feed to cats? What do 
they catch for themselves? What do the 
cats that are wild live upon? How does 
the cat help us? How does she injure us? 

4. How does a cat catch her prey? Does 
she track mice by the scent? Does she 
catch them by tunning after them as a 
dog does? Describe how she lies in am- 
bush. How does she hold the mouse as 
she pounces upon it? How does she carry 
it home to her kittens? 

5. Study the cat's paws to see how she 
holds her prey. Where are the sharp claws? 
Are they always in sight like a dog's? Does 


she touch them to the ground when she 
walks? Which walks more silently, a dog 
or a cat? Why? Describe the cat's foot, 
including the toe-pads. Are there as many 
toes on the hind feet as on the front feet? 
What kind of track does the cat make in 
the snow? How does she set her feet to 
make such a track? How does she sharpen 
her claws? How does she use her claws 
for climbing? How far have you ever seen 
a cat jump? Does she use her front or 
her hind feet in making the jump? On 
which feet does she alight? Does she make 
much noise when she alights? 

6. What is there peculiar about a cat's 
eyes? What is their color? What is the 
color of kittens' eyes? What is the shape 
of the pupil in daylight? In the dark? De- 
scribe the inner lid which comes from the 
corner of the eye. 

7. How many teeth has Puss? What is 
the use of the long tushes? Why is there 
a bare space behind these? What does she 
use her little front teeth for? Does she use 
her back teeth for chewing or for cutting 

8. How many whiskers has she? How 
long are they? What is their use? Do you 
think Puss has a keen sense of smell? Why 
do you think so? Do you think she has a 
keen sense of hearing? How do the shape 
and position of the ears help in listening? 
In what position are the ears when Puss 
is angry? 

9. How many colors do you find in our 
domestic cats? What is the color of wild 
cats? Why would it not be beneficial to 
the wild cat to have as striking colors as 
our tame cats? Compare the fur of the 
cat with the hair of the dog. How do they 
differ? If a cat chased her prey like the 
dog do you think her fur would be too 
warm a covering? 

10. Describe how the cat washes her 
face. How does she clean her fur? How 
does her rough tongue help in this? How 
does the mother cat wash her kittens? 

11. How does a little kitten look when 
a day or two old? How long before its 
eyes open? How does the cat carry her 
kittens? How does a kitten act when it 
is being carried? How does the mother 



cat punish her kittens? How does she teach 
them to catch mice? How do kittens play? 
How does the exercise they get in play- 
ing fit them to become hunters? 

12. How should cats be trained not to 
touch birds? When must this training be- 
gin? Why should a person be punished 
for injury to the public who takes cats 
to summer cottages and leaves them there 
to run wild? 

13. Where in the room does Puss best 
like to lie? How does she sun herself? 
What herb does she like best? Does she 
like some people and not others? What 

strange companions have you known a cat 
to have? What is the cat's chief enemy? 
How should we care for and make her 

14. Write or tell stories on the follow- 
ing subjects: (i) The Things Which My 
Pet Cat Does; (2) The Wild Cat; (3) 
The Lion; (4) The Tiger; (5) The Leo- 
pard; (6) The Panther and the Mountain 
Lion; (7) The Lynx; (8) The History of 
Domestic Cats; (9) The Different Races 
of Cats, describing the Manx, the Persian, 
and the Angora Cats. 

A herd of goats by the Nueces River, Texas 

A. A. Wright 


Little do we in America realize the close 
companionship that has existed in older 
countries, from time immemorial, be- 
tween goats and people. This association 
began when man was a nomad, and took 
with him in his wanderings his flocks, 
of which goats formed the larger part. He 
then drank their milk, ate their flesh, wove 
their hair into raiment, or made cloth of 
their pelts, and used their skins for w r ater 
bags. Among peoples of the East all these 

uses continue to the present day. In the 
streets of Cairo, old Arabs may be seen 
with goatskins filled with water upon their 
backs; and in any city of western Asia or 
southern Europe, flocks of goats are driven 
along the streets to be milked in sight of 
the consumer. 

In order to understand the goat's pe- 
culiarities of form and habit, we should 
consider it as a wild animal, living upon 
the mountain heights amid rocks and snow 


and scant vegetation. It is marvelously 
sure-footed, and on its native mountains 
it can climb the sharpest crags and leap 
chasms. This peculiarity has been seized 
upon by showmen who often exhibit 
goats which walk on the tight rope with 
ease, and even turn themselves upon it 
without falling. The instinct for climbing 
still lingers in the domestic breeds, and in 
the country the goat may be seen on top 
of stone piles or other objects, while, in 
city suburbs, its form may be discerned 
on the roofs of shanties and other low 

U. S. Dept. Agriculture 

Saanen goats in Switzerland 

It is a common saying that a goat will 
eat anything, and much sport is made of 
this peculiarity. This fact has more mean- 
ing for us when we realize that wild goats 
live in high altitudes, where there is little 
plant life, and are, therefore, obliged to 
find sustenance on lichens, moss, and such 
scant vegetation as they can find. 

The goat is closely allied to the sheep, 
differing from it in only a few particulars; 
its horns rise from the forehead curving 
over backward and do not form a spiral 
like those of the ram; its covering is usu- 
ally of hair, and the male has a beard from 
which we get the name goatee; the goat 
has no gland between the toes, and it does 
have a rank and disagreeable odor. In a 
wild state, it usually lives a little higher 
up the mountains than do the sheep, and 
it is a far more intelligent animal. Mary 
Austin says: " Goats lead naturally by 
reason of a quicker instinct, forage more 
freely and can find water on their own ac- 
count, and give voice in case of alarm. 

Saanen doe 

Goat leaders exhibit jealousy of their rights 
to be first over the stepping-stones or to 
walk the teetering log bridges at the roar- 
ing creeks/ 7 On the great plains, it is a 
common usage to place a few goats in a 
flock of sheep, because of the greater 
sagacity of these animals as leaders, and 
also as defenders in case of attack. 

Goats' teeth are arranged for cropping 
herbage and especially for browsing. There 
are six molar teeth on each side of each 
jaw; there are eight lower incisors and 
none above. The goat's sense of smell is 
very acute; the ears are movable and the 
sense of hearing is keen; the eyes are full 
and very intelligent; the horns are some- 
what flattened and angular, are often 
knobbed somewhat in front, and curve 
backward above the neck; they are, how- 
ever, very efficient as weapons of defense. 
The legs are strong, though not large, and 
are well fitted for leaping and running. 

N". Y. Agr. Exp. Station, Geneva 

Toggenburg goat. This Swiss breed, de- 
veloped by a careful selection of animals for 
many years, has attained a very definite 
standard of size, color } and conformation 



N. Y. Agr. Exp. Station, Geneva 

French alpine doe. Alpines are sturdy, and 
have been bred for high production of fine- 
flavored milk 

The feet have two hoofs, that is, the ani- 
mal walks upon two toenails. There are 
two smaller toes behind and above the 
hoofs. The goat can run with great rapid- 
ity. The tail of the goat is short like that 
of the deer, and does not need to be am- 
putated like that of the sheep. Although 
the normal covering of the goat is hair, 
there are some species which have a more 
or less woolly coat. When angry the goat 
shakes its head, and defends itself by but- 
ting with the head, also by striking with 
the horns, which are very sharp. Goats 
are very tractable and make affectionate 
pets when treated with kindness; they dis- 
play far more affection for their owner 
than do sheep. 

Our famous Rocky Mountain goat, al- 
though it belongs rather to the antelope 
family, is a large animal, and is the special 
prize of the hunter; however, it still holds 
its own in the high mountains of the 
Rocky and Cascade Ranges. Both sexes 
have slender black horns, white hair, and 
black feet, eyes, and nose. Owen Wister 
says of this animal: "He is white, all 
white, and shaggy, and twice as large as any 
goat you ever saw. His white hair hangs 
long all over him like a Spitz dog's or an 
Angora cat's; and against its shaggy white 
mass the blackness of his hoofs and horns, 

and nose looks particularly black. His legs 
are thick, his neck is thick, everything 
about him is thick, save only his thin 
black horns. They're generally about six 
(often more than nine) inches long, they 
spread very slightly, and they curve slightly 
backward. At their base they are a little 
rough, but as they rise they become cylin- 
drically smooth and taper to an ugly point. 
His hoofs are heavy, broad and blunt. The 
female is lighter than the male, and with 
horns more slender, a trifle. And (to re- 
turn to the question of diet) we visited 
the pasture where the herd (of thirty-five) 
had been, and found no signs of grass 
growing or grass eaten; there was no grass 
on that mountain. The only edible sub- 
stance was a moss, tufted, stiff and dry to 
the touch. I also learned that the goat 
is safe from predatory animals. With his 
impenetrable hide and his disemboweling 
horns he is left by the wolves and moun- 
tain lions respectfully alone." 

MILCH GOATS Many breeds of these 
have been developed, and the highest type 
is, perhaps, found in Switzerland. The 
Swiss farmers have found the goat par- 
ticularly adapted to their high mountains 
and have used it extensively; thus, goats 
developed in the Saane and Toggenburg 
valleys have a world-wide reputation. 
Above these valleys the high mountains 
are covered with perpetual snow, and win- 
ter sets in about November i, lasting 
until the last of May. The goats are kept 
with the cows in barns and fed upon hay; 
but as soon as the snow is gone from the 
valleys and the lower foothills, the cattle 
and goats are sent with the herders and 
boy assistants to the grazing grounds. A 
bell is put upon the cow that leads the 
herd so as to keep it together and the boys, 
in their gay peasant dresses, are as happy 
as the playful calves and goats to get out 
in the spring sunshine. The herds follow 
the receding snows up the mountains un- 
til about midsummer, when they reach 
the high places of scanty vegetation; then 
they start on the downward journey, re- 
turning to the home and stables about 
November i. The milk from goats is 
mixed with that from cows to make cheese, 



and this cheese has a wide reputation; 
some of the varieties are Roquefort, 
Schweitzer, and Altenburger. Although 
the cheese is excellent, the butter made 
from goat's milk is inferior to that made 
from the cow's. The milk, when the ani- 
mals are well taken care of, is exceedingly 
nourishing; it is thought to be the best 
milk in the world for children. Usually, 
the trouble with goafs milk is that the 
animals are not kept clean, nor is care 
taken in milking. Germany has produced 
many distinct and excellent breeds of 
milch goats; the Island of Malta, Spain, 
England, Ireland, Egypt, and Nubia have 
each developed noted breeds. Of all these, 
the Nubias give the most milk, sometimes 
yielding from four to six quarts a day, 
while an ordinary goat is considered fairly 
good if it yields two quarts a day. 

THE MOHAIR GOATS There are two 
noted breeds of goats whose hair is used 
extensively for weaving into fabrics; one 
of these is the Cashmere and the other the 
Angora. The Cashmere goat has long, 
straight, silky hair for an outside coat and 
has a winter undercoat of very delicate 
wool. There are not more than two or 
three ounces of this wool upon one goat, 
and this is made into the famous Cash- 
mere shawls; ten goats furnish barely 
enough of this wool for one shawl. The 
Cashmere goats are grown most largely in 
Tibet, and the wool is shipped from the 
high tableland to the Valley of Cashmere, 
where it is made into shawls. It requires 
the work of several people for a year to 
produce one of these famous shawls. 

The Angora goat has a long, silky, and 
very curly fleece. These goats were first 
discovered in Angora, a city of Asia Minor 
south of the Black Sea, and some 200 miles 
southeast from Constantinople. The An- 
gora goat is a beautiful and delicate ani- 
mal, and furnishes most of the mohair 
which is made into the cloths known as 
mohair, alpaca, camel's hair, and many 
other fabrics. The Angora goat has been 
introduced into America, in California, 
Texas, Arizona, and to some extent in the 
Middle West. It promises to be a very 
profitable industry. (See Farmers' Bulle- 

tin The Angora Goat, United States De- 
partment of Agriculture.) 

The skins of goats are used extensively; 
morocco, gloves, and many other articles 
are made from them. In the Orient, the 
skin of the goat is used as a bag in which 
to carry water and wine. 

by James G. Lawson; Mountain Neigh- 
bors, by Edith M. Patch and Carroll L. 
Fenton; The Pet Book, by Anna B. Corn- 
stock; also, some of the readings on 
page 214. 


LEADING THOUGHT Goats are among 
our most interesting domesticated ani- 
mals, and their history is closely inter- 
woven with the history of the develop- 
ment of civilization. In Europe, their milk 
is made into cheese that has a world-wide 
fame; and from the hair of some of the 
species, beautiful fabrics are woven. The 
goat is naturally an animal of the high 

METHOD A span of goats harnessed 
to a cart is second only to ponies, in a 
child's estimation; therefore, the begin- 
ning of this lesson may well be a span of 
goats thus employed. The lesson should 
not be given unless the pupils have an op- 
portunity for making direct observations 
on the animal's appearance and habits. 
There should be some oral and written 
work in English done with this lesson. 

Bureau of Animal Industry, TJ, S. D. A. 

Angora goat 

2 7 


Following are topics for such work: " The 
Milch Goat of Switzerland/ 7 " How Cash- 
mere Shawls Are Made/' "The Angora 
Goat/' " The Chamois/ 7 

OBSERVATIONS i . Do you think that 
goats like to climb to high points? Are 
they fitted to climb steep, inaccessible 
places? Can they jump off steep places in 
safety? How does it happen that the goat 
is sure-footed? How do its legs and feet 
compare with those of the sheep? 

2. What does the goat eat? Where does 
it find its natural food on mountains? How 
are the teeth arranged for cutting its food? 
Does a goat chew its cud like a cow? 

3. What is the covering of the goat? 
Describe a billy goafs beard. Do you sup- 
pose this is for ornament? For what is 
goat's hair used? 

4. Do you think the goat has a keen 
sense of sight, of hearing, and of smell? 
Why? Why did it need to be alert and 
keen when it lived wild upon the moun- 
tains? Do you think the goat is intelli- 
gent? Give instances of this. 

5. Describe the horns. Do they differ 
from the horns of the sheep? How does 
a goat fight? Does he strike head on, like 
the sheep, or sidewise? How does he show 

6. What noises does a goat make? Do 
you understand what they mean? 

7. Describe the goat, its looks and ac- 
tions. Is the goat's tail short at first or 
does it have to be cut off like the lamb's 
tail? Where and how is goat's milk used? 
What kinds of cheese are made from it? 
For what is its skin used? Is its flesh ever 

Everyone Icnows the gayety of young 
kids, which prompts them to cut the most 
amusing and burlesque capers. The goat 
is naturally capricious and inquisitive, and 
one might say crazy for every species of 
adventure. It positively delights in peril- 
ous ascensions. At times it will rear and 
threaten you with its head and horns, 
apparently with the worst intentions, 
whereas it is usually an invitation to play. 
The bucks, however, fight violently with 
each other; they seem to have no con- 
sciousness of the most terrible blows. The 
ewes themselves are not exempt from this 

They know very well whether or not 
they have deserved punishment. Drive 
them out of the garden, where they are 
forbidden to go, with a whip and they will 
flee without uttering a sound; but strike 
them without just cause and they will send 
forth lamentable cries. 



The earliest important achievement of ovine intelligence is to know whether its 
own notion or another's is most worth while, and if the other's, which one? Individ- 
ual sheep have certain qualities, instincts, competences, but in the man-herded flocks 
these are superseded by something which I shall call the flock mind, though I cannot 
say very well what it is, except that it is less than the sum of all their intelligences. This 
is why there have never been any notable changes in the management of flocks since 
the first herder girt himself with a wallet of sheep-skin and went out of his cave-dwell- 
ing to the pastures. " THE FLOCK/' MARY AUSTIN 

Both sheep and goats are at home on 
mountains, and sheep especially thrive 
best in cool, dry locations. As wild animals, 
they were creatures of the mountain crag 
and chasm, although they frequented 
more open places than the mountain 

goats, and their wool was developed to 
protect them from the bitter cold of high 
altitudes. They naturally gathered in 
flocks, and sentinels were set to give warn- 
ing of the approach of danger; as soon as 
the signal came, they made their escape, 


Sheep at rest 

Verne Morton 

not in the straight away race like the deer, 
but in following the leader over rock, 
ledge, and precipice to mountain fast- 
nesses where neither wolf nor bear could 
follow. Thus, the instinct of following the 
leader blindly came to be the salvation of 
the individual sheep. 

The teeth of the sheep are like those of 
the goat, eight incisors below and none 
on the upper row, and six grinding teeth 
at the back of each side of each jaw. This 
arrangement of teeth on the small, deli- 
cate, pointed jaws enables the sheep to 
crop herbage where cattle would starve; 
it can cut the small grass off at its roots, 
and for this reason, where vast herds of 
sheep range, they leave a desert behind 
them. This fact brought about a bitter 
feud between the cattle and sheep men 
in the far West. In forests, flocks of sheep 
completely kill all underbrush, and now 
they are not permitted to run in gov- 
ernment reserves. 

The sheep's legs are short and delicate 
below the ankle. The upper portion is 
greatly developed to help the animal in 
leaping, a peculiarity to which we owe 
the " leg of lamb " as a table delicacy. The 
hoof is cloven, that is, the sheep walks 

upon two toes; it has two smaller toes 
above and behind these. There is a little 
gland between the front toes that se- 
cretes an oily substance, which perhaps 
serves in preventing the hoof from becom- 
ing too dry. The ears are large and are 
moved to catch better the direction of 
sound. The eyes are peculiar; in the sun- 
light the pupil is a mere slit, while the iris 
is yellow or brownish, but in the dark, 
even of the stable, the pupils enlarge, al- 
most covering the eye. The ewes either 
lack horns or have small ones, but the 

Bureau of Animal Industry, U, S. D. A. 

Cheviot sheep 


Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. D. A. 

Ewe with her lamb 

horns of wild rams are large, placed at the 
side of the head and curled outward in a 
spiral. These horns are perhaps not so 
much for fighting the enemy as rival 
rams. The ram can strike a hard blow with 
head or horns, coming at the foe head on, 
while the goat always strikes sidewise. So 
fierce is the blow of the angry sheep that 
an ancient instrument of war, fashioned 
like a ram's head and used to knock down 
walls, was called a battering ram. A sheep 
shows anger by stamping the ground with 
the front feet. The habit of rumination 
enables the sheep to feed in a flock and 
then retire to some place to rest and chew 
the cud, a performance peculiarly amus- 
ing in the sheep. 

Sheep under attack and danger are si- 
lent; ordinarily they keep up a constant, 
gentle bleating to keep each other in- 
formed of their whereabouts; they also 
give a peculiar call when water is discov- 
ered, and another to inform the flock that 
there is a stranger in the midst; they also 
give a peculiar bleat, when a snake or other 
enemy which they conquer is observed. 
Their sense of smell is very acute. 

Lambs quickly become true members 
of the herd. Mary Austin says, " Young 
lambs are principally legs, the connecting 
body being simply a contrivance for con- 
verting milk into more leg, so you under- 

stand how it is that they will follow the 
flock in two days and are able to take the 
trail in a fortnight, traveling four and five 
miles a day, falling asleep on their feet and 
tottering forward in the way." The older 
lambs have games which they play un- 
tiringly, and which fit them to become 
active members of the flock; one is the 
regular game of " Follow My Leader/' 
each lamb striving to push ahead and at- 
tain the place of leader. In playing this 
the head lamb leads the chase over most 
difficult places, such as logs, stones, and 
brooks; thus is a training begun which 
later in life may save the flock. The 
other game is peculiar to stony pastures; 
a lamb climbs to the top of a boulder and 
its comrades gather around and try to butt 
it off; the one which succeeds in doing 
this climbs the rock and is " it/' This game 
leads to agility and sure-footedness. A 
lamb's tail is long and is most expressive 
of lambkin bliss, when feeding time 
comes; but, alas! it has to be cut off so 
that later it will not become matted with 
burrs and filth. In southern Russia there 
is a breed of sheep with large, flat, fat tails 
which are esteemed as a great table deli- 
cacy. This tail becomes so cumbersome 
that wheels are placed beneath it, so that 
it trundles along behind its owner. 

In the Rocky Mountains we have a 
noble species of wild sheep which is likely 

Mutual contentment 


to become extinct soon. The different 
breeds of domesticated sheep are sup- 
posed to have been derived from different 
wild species. Of the domesticated vari- 
eties, we have the Merinos, which origi- 
nated in Spain and which give beautiful, 
long, fine wool for our fabrics; but their 
flesh is not very attractive. The Merinos 
have wool on their faces and legs and have 
wrinkled skins. The English breeds of 
sheep have been especially developed for 
mutton, although their wool is valuable. 
Some of these like the Southdown, Shrop- 
shire, and Dorset, give a medium length 

Rams in pasture 

Verne Morton 

of wool, while the Cotswold has very long 
wool, the ewes having long strings of wool 
over their eyes in the fashion of " bangs." 

The dog is the ancient enemy of sheep; 
and even now, after hundreds of years of 
domestication, some of our dogs will re- 
vert to savagery and chase and kill sheep. 
This, in fact, has been one of the great 
drawbacks to sheep-raising in the eastern 
United States. The collie, or sheep dog, 
has been bred so many years as the special 
caretaker of sheep, that a beautiful rela- 
tionship has been established between 
these dogs and their flocks. 

on the Farm, by Kate E. Agnew and Mar- 
garet Coble; Farm Animals, by James G. 
Lawson; Lives of the Hunted, by Ernest 
Thompson Seton; The Pet Boole, by Anna 
B. Comstock; also, some of the readings 
on page 214. 


LEADING THOUGHT Sheep live natu- 
rally in high altitudes. When attacked by 

Bureau of Animal Industry, IT. S. D. A. 

Corriedale ram 

enemies, they follow their leader over diffi- 
cult and dangerous mountain places. 

METHOD The questions of this lesson 
should be given to the pupils and the ob- 
servations should be made upon the sheep 
in pasture or stable. Much written work 
may be done in connection with this les- 
son. The following topics are suggested 
for themes: "The Methods by Which 
Wool Is Made into Cloth," " The Rocky 
Mountain Sheep," " The Sheep-herders of 
California and Their Flocks," " The True 
Story of a Cosset Lamb." 

OBSERVATIONS i. What is the chief 
characteristic that separates sheep from 
other animals? What is the difference be- 
tween wool and hair? Why is wool of spe- 
cial use to sheep in their native haunts? Is 
there any hair on sheep? 

2. Where do the wild sheep live? What 

Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. D. A- 

Hampshire ewe 



is the climate in these places? Does wool 
serve them well on this account? What 
sort of pasturage do sheep find on moun- 
tains? Could cows live where sheep thrive? 
Describe the sheep's teeth and how they 
are arranged to enable it to crop vegeta- 
tion closely. What happens to the vege- 
tation on the range when a great flock of 
sheep passes over it? Why are sheep not 
allowed in our forest preserves? 

3. What are the chief enemies of sheep 
in the wilderness? How do the sheep 
escape them? Describe the foot and leg of 
the sheep and explain how they help the 
animal to escape its enemies. We say of 
certain men that they " follow like a flock 
of sheep/' Why do we make this com- 
parison? What has this habit of following 
the leader to do with the escape of sheep 
from wolves and bears? 

4. How do sheep fight? Do both rams 
and ewes have horns? Do they both fight? 
How does the sheep show anger? Give 
your experience with a cross cosset lamb. 

5. Do you think that sheep can see and 
hear well? What is the position of the 
sheep's ears when it is peaceful? When 

there is danger? How do the sheep's eyes 
differ from those of the cow? 

6. Does the sheep chew its cud like the 
cow? Describe the action as performed by 
the sheep. How is this habit of cud chew- 
ing of use to the wild sheep? 

7. Describe a young lamb. Why has it 
such long legs? How does it use its tail 
to express joy? What happens to this tail 
later? What games have you seen lambs 
play? Tell all the stories of lambs that you 

8. How much of sheep language do you 
understand? What is the use to the wild 
flock of the constant bleating? 

9. For what purposes do we keep sheep? 
How many breeds of sheep do you know? 
What are the chief differences between 
the English breeds and the Merinos? 
Where and for what purposes is the milk 
of sheep used? 

10. Have you ever seen a collie looking 
after a herd of sheep? If so, describe his 
actions. Did you ever know of dogs kill- 
ing sheep? At what time of day or night 
was this done? Did you ever know of one 
dog attacking a flock of sheep alone? 


There was once a little animal no bigger than a fox, 

And on five toes he scrambled over Tertiary rocks. 

They called him Eohippus, and they called him very small, 

And they thought him of no value when they thought of him at all. 

Said the little Eohippus, I am going to be a horse/ 

And on my middle finger nails to run my earthly course/ 

I am going to have a flowing tail/ 1 am going to have a mane/ 

And I am going to stand fourteen hands high on the Psychozooic plain/ 


It was some millions of years ago that 
Eohippus lived out in the Rocky Moun- 
tain Range; its forefeet had four toes and 
the splint of the fifth; the hind feet had 
three toes and the splint of the fourth. 
Eohippus was followed down the geologic 
ages by the Orohippus and the Mesohip- 
pus and various other hippuses, which 
showed in each age a successive enlarge- 

ment and specialization of the middle toe 
and the minimizing and final loss of the 
others. This first little horse with many 
toes lived when the earth was a damp, 
warm place and when animals needed toes 
to spread out to prevent them from miring 
in the mud. But as the ages went on, the 
earth grew colder and drier, and a long 
leg ending in a single hoof was very serv- 



Mares and colts in shady pasture 

Marion E. Wesp 

iceable in running swiftly over the dry 
plains. According to the story read in 
the fossils of the rocks, our little American 
horses migrated to South America, and 
also trotted dry-shod over to Asia in the 
Mid-pliocene age, arriving there suffi- 
ciently early to become the companion of 
prehistoric man. In the meantime, horses 
were first hunted by savage man for their 
flesh, but were later ridden. At present, 
there are wild horses in herds on the plains 
of Tartary; and there are still sporadic 
herds of mustangs on the great plains of 
our own country, although for the most 
part they are branded and belong to some- 
one, even though they live like wild horses; 
these American wild horses are supposed 
to be descendants of those brought over 
centuries ago by the Spaniards. The Shet- 
land ponies are also wild in the islands 
north of Scotland, and the zebras, the 
most truly wild of all, roam the plains of 
Africa. In a state of wildness, there is al- 
ways a stallion at the head of a herd of 
mares, and he has to win his position and 
keep it by superior strength and prowess. 
Fights between stallions are terrible to wit- 
ness, and often result in the death of one 
of the participants. The horse is well 
armed for battle; his powerful teeth can 
inflict deep wounds and he can kick and 

strike hard with the front feet; still more 
efficient is the kick made with both hind 
feet while the weight of the body is borne 
on the front feet, and the head of the 
horse is turned so as to aim well the ter- 
rible blow. There are no wild beasts of 
prey which will not slink away to avoid 
a herd of horses. After attaining their 
growth in the herd with their mothers, 
the young males are forced by the leader 
to leave and go off by themselves; in turn, 
they must by their own strength and at- 
tractions win their following of mares. 
However, there are times and places where 
many of these herds join, making large 
bands wandering together. 

Field Museum of Natural History 

Ancestors of the horse a restoration 


Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. D. A. 

Morgan horse 

The length of the horse's leg was evi- 
dently evolved to meet the need for flight 
before fierce and swift enemies, on the 
great ancient plains. The one toe, with 
its strong, sharp hoof, makes a fit foot for 
such a long leg, since it strikes the ground 
with little waste of energy and is sharp 
enough not to slip, but it is not a good 
foot for marshy places; a horse will mire 
where a cow can pass in safety. The devel- 
opment of the middle toe into a hoof 
results in lifting the heel and wrist far 
up the leg, making them appear to be 
the knee and elbow, when compared with 
the human body. 

The length of neck and head are neces- 
sary in order than an animal with such 
length of leg as the horse may be able 
to graze. The head of the horse tells much 
of its disposition; a perfect head should 
be not too large; it should be broad be- 
tween the eyes and high between the ears, 
while below the eyes it should be narrow. 
The ears, if lopped or turned back, denote 
a treacherous disposition; they should 
point upward or forward. If the ears are 
laid back it is a sign that the horse is an- 
gry; sensitive, quick-moving ears indicate 
a high-strung, sensitive animal. The eyes 
are placed so that the horse can see in 
front, at the side, and behind, the last be- 
ing necessary in order to aim a kick. Hazel 
eyes are usually preferred to dark ones, and 

they should be bright and prominent. The 
nostrils should be thin-skinned, wide-flar- 
ing, and sensitive; in the wild stage, scent 
was one of the horse's chief aids in detect- 
ing the enemy. The lips should not be too 
thick and the lower jaw should be narrow 
where it joins the head. 

The horse's teeth are peculiar; there 
are six incisors on each jaw; behind them 
is a bare space called the bar, of which we 
have made use for placing the bit. Back 
of the bar, there are six molars or grinders 
on each side of each jaw. At the age of 
about three years, canine teeth or tushes 
appear behind the incisors; these are more 
noticeable in males, and never seem to be 
of much use. Thus, the horse has on each 
jaw, when full-grown, six incisors, two 
canines, and twelve molars, making forty 
teeth in all. The incisors are prominent 
and enable the horse to bite the grass more 
closely than can the cow. The horse when 
chewing does not have the sidewise mo- 
tion of the jaws peculiar to the cow and 

The horse's coat is, when rightly cared 
for, glossy and beautiful; but if the horse 
is allowed to run out in the pasture all 
winter, the coat becomes very shaggy, thus 
reverting to the condition of wild horses 
which stand in need of a warmer coat for 
winter; the hair is shecl every year. The 
mane and the forelock are useful in pro- 
tecting the head and neck from flies; the 

Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. D, A. 

Percheron draft horse 



tail also is an efficient fly-brush. The mane 
and tail have thus a practical value, and 
they also add greatly to the animal's 
beauty. To dock a horse's tail for pur- 
poses of ornament is as absurd as the 
sliced ears and welted cheeks of savages; 
and horses thus mutilated suffer greatly 
from the attacks of flies. 

Owing to the fact that wild horses made 
swift flight from enemies, the colts could 
not be left behind at the mercy of wolves. 
Thus it is that the colt, like the lamb, 
is equipped with long legs from the first, 
and can run very rapidly; as a runner, it 
could not be loaded with a big compound 
stomach full of food ? like the calf, and 
therefore must needs take its nourishment 
from the mother at frequent intervals. 
The colt's legs are so long that it must 
spread the front legs wide apart in order 
to reach the grass with its mouth. When 
the colt or the horse lies down out of doors 
and in perfect freedom, it lies flat upon 
the side. In lying down, the hind quarters 
go first, and in rising, the front legs are 
thrust out first. 

The horse has several natural gaits and 
some that are artificial. Its natural methods 
of progression are the walk, the trot, the 
amble, and the gallop. When walking 
there are always two or more feet on the 
ground and the movement of the feet con- 
sists in placing successively the right hind 
foot, the right fore foot, left hind foot, left 

Bureau of Animal Industry, TJ. S. D. A. 

Carriage stallion 

Bureau of Animal Industry, TJ. S. D. A. 

Man o' War. A famous race horse and the 
father of famous racers 

fore foot, right hind foot, etc. In trotting, 
each diagonal pair of legs is alternately 
lifted and thrust forward, the horse being 
unsupported twice during each stride. In 
ambling, the feet are moved as in the walk, 
only differing in that a hind foot or a fore 
foot is lifted from the ground before its 
fellow fore foot or hind foot is set down. 
In a canter, the feet are landed on the 
ground in the same sequence as in a walk 
but much more rapidly; and in the gal- 
lop, the spring is made from the fore foot 
and the landing is on the diagonal hind 
foot, and just before landing the body 
is in the air and the legs are all bent be- 
neath it. 

An excellent horseman once said to me, 
" The whip may teach a horse to obey the 
voice, but the voice and hand control the 
well-broken horse/ 7 and this epitomizes 
the best horse training. He also said, " The 
horse knows a great deal, but he is too 
nervous to make use of his knowledge 
when he needs it most. It is the horse's 
feelings that I rely on. He always has the 
use of his feelings and the quick use of 
them." It is a well-known fact that those 
men who whip and scold and swear at 
their horses are meantime showing to the 
world that they are fools in this parties 



A herd of ponies in the Isle of Shetland 
guarded by a sheep dog 

lar business. Many of the qualities which 
we do not like in our domesticated horses 
were most excellent and useful when the 
horses were wild; for instance, the habit 
of shying was the wild horse's method of 
escaping the crouching foe in the grass. 
This habit as well as many others is better 
controlled by the voice of the driver than 
by a blow from the whip. 

Timothy hay, or hay mixed with clover, 
form good, bulky food for the horse, and 
oats and corn are the best concentrated 
food. Oats are best for driving-horses and 
corn for the working team. Dusty hay 
should not be fed to a horse; but if un- 
avoidable, it should always be dampened 
before feeding. A horse should be fed with 
regularity, and should not be used for a 
short time after having eaten. If the horse 
is not warm, it should be watered before 
feeding, and in the winter the water 
should have the chill taken off. The frozen 
bit should be warmed before being placed 
in the horse's mouth; if anyone doubts the 
wisdom of this, let him put a frozen piece 
of steel in his own mouth. The cruel 
use of the tight-drawn over checkrein 
should not be permitted, although a mod- 
erate check is often needed and is not 
cruel. When the horse is sweating, it 
should be blanketed immediately if 
hitched outside in cold weather; but in the 
barn the blanket should not be put on un- 
til the perspiration has stopped steaming. 
The grooming of a horse is a part of its 
rights, and its legs should receive more at- 
tention during this process than its body, 
a fact not always well understood. 

The breeds of horses may always be 
classified more or less distinctly as follows: 
racers or thoroughbreds; the saddle horse, 
or hunter; the coach horse; the draft horse; 
and the pony. For a description of breeds 
see dictionaries or cyclopedias. Of the 
draft horses, the Percherons, Shires, and 
Clydesdales are most common; of the 
carriage and coach horses, the English 
hackney and the French and German 
coach horses are famed examples. Of the 
roadster breeds, the American trotter, the 
American saddle horse and the English 
thoroughbred are most famous. 

on the Farm, by Kate E. Agnew and Mar- 
garet Coble; Before the Dawn of History, 
by Charles R. Knight; Farm Animals, by 
James G. Lawson; Jinny: The Story of a 
Filly, by Bert C. Thayer; Mother Nature 
Series, by Fannie W. Dunn and Eleanor 
Troxell, Book i, Baby Animals; The Pet 
Boole, by Anna B. Comstock; Wild Ani- 
mals I Have Known, by Ernest Thompson 
Seton; also, some of the readings on 
page 214. 


LEADING THOUGHT The horse as a 
wild animal depended largely upon its 

Percheron colt 

Marion E. Wesp 



strength and fleetness to escape its ene- 
mies, and these two qualities have made 
it of greatest use to man. 

METHOD Begin this study of the horse 
with the stories of wild horses. " The Pac- 
ing Mustang " in Wild Animals I Have 
Known is an excellent story to show the 
habits of the herds of wild horses. Before 
beginning actual study of the domestic 
horses, ask for oral or written English exer- 
cises descriptive of the lives of the wild 
horses. After the interest has been thus 
aroused the following observations may be 
suggested, a few at a time, to be made in- 
cidentally in the street or in the stable. 

OBSERVATIONS i . Compare the length 
of the legs of the horse with its height. 
Has any other domestic animal legs as 
long in proportion? What habits of the 
ancestral wild horses led to the develop- 
ment of such long legs? Do you think 
the length of the horse's neck and head 
corresponds to the length of its legs? 

2. Study the horse's leg and foot. The 
horse walks on one toe. Which toe do you 
think it is? What do we call the toenail 
of the horse? What advantage is this sort 
of foot to the horse? Is it best fitted for 
running on dry plains or for marshy land? 
Does the hoof grow as our nails do? Do 
you know whether there were ever any 
horses with three toes or four toes on each 
foot? Make a sketch of the horse's front 
and hind leg and label those places which 
correspond to our wrist, elbow, shoulder, 
hand, heel, knee, and hip. 

3. Where are the horse's ears placed on 
the head? How do they move? Do they 
flap back and forth like the cow's ears 
when they are moved, or do they turn 
as if on a pivot? What do the following 
different positions of the horse's ears in- 
dicate: When lifted and pointing forward? 
When thrown back? Can you tell by the 
action of the ears whether a horse is nerv- 
ous and high-strung or not? 

4. What is the color of the horse's eyes? 
The shape of the pupil? What advantage 
does the position of the eyes on the head 
give to the wild horse? Why do we put 
blinders on a horse? Can you tell by the 

expression of the eye the temper of the 

5. Look at the mouth and nose. Are 
the nostrils large and flaring? Has the 
horse a keen sense of smell? Are the lips 
thick or thin? When taking sugar from 
the hand, does the horse use teeth or lips? 

6. Describe the horse's teeth. How 
many front teeth? How many back teeth? 
Describe the bar where the bit is placed. 
Are there any canine teeth? If so, where? 
Do you know how to tell a horse's age by 
its teeth? Can a horse graze the grass 
more closely than a cow? Why? When it 
chews does it move the jaws sidewise like 
the cow? Why? Why did the wild horses 
not need to develop a cud-chewing habit? 

7. What is the nature of the horse's 
coat in summer? If the horse runs in the 
pasture all winter, how does its coat 
change? When does the horse shed its 
coat? What is the use of the horse's mane, 
forelock, and tail? Do you think it is treat- 
ing the horse well to dock its tail? 

8. Why do colts need to be so long- 
legged? How does a colt have to place its 
front legs in order to reach down and 
eat the grass? Does the colt need to take 
its food from the mother often? How does 
it differ from the calf in this respect? How 
has this difference of habit resulted in a 
difference of form in the calf and colt? 

9. When the horse lies down which part 
goes down first? When getting up which 
rises first? How does this differ from the 
method of the cow? When the horse lies 
down to sleep does it have its legs partially 
under it like the cow? 

10. In walking which leg moves first? 
Second? Third? Fourth? How many gaits 
has the horse? Describe as well as you can 
all of these gaits. 

11. Make a sketch of a horse showing 
the parts. (See Webster's Unabridged.) 
When we say a horse is fourteen hands 
high what do we mean? 

12. In fighting, what weapons does the 
horse use and how? 

13. In training a horse, should the voice 
or the whip be used more? What qualities 
should a man have to be a good horse 
trainer? Why is shying a good quality in 



wild horses? How should it be dealt with 
in the domestic horse? 

14. What sort of feed is best for the 
horse? How and when should the horse 
be watered? Should the water be warmed 
in cold weather? Why? Should the bit be 
warmed in winter before putting it in a 
horse's mouth? Why? Should a tight 
over checkrein be used when driving? 
Why not? When the horse has been 
driven until it is sweating what are the 
rules for blanketing it when hitched out 
of doors and when hitched in the bam? 
What is your opinion of a man who lets 
his horse stand waiting in the cold, un- 
blanketed? If horses were kept out of 
doors all the time would this treatment 
be so cruel and dangerous? Why not? 
Why should dusty hay be dampened be- 
fore it is fed to a horse? Why should a 
horse be groomed? Which should receive 
more attention, the legs or the body? 

15. How many breeds of horses do you 
know? What is the use of each? Describe 
as well as you can the characteristics of 
the following: the thoroughbred, the hack- 
ney, and other coach horses; the Ameri- 
can trotter, the Percheron, the Clydesdale. 

16. Write English themes on the fol- 
lowing subjects: " The Prehistoric Horses 
of America," " The Arabian Horse and Its 
Life with Its Master," "The Bronchos 
and Mustangs of the West/' " The Wild 
Horses of Tartary," "The Zebras of 
Africa," " The Shetland Ponies and the 
Islands on Which They Run Wild." 

Many horses shy a good deal at objects 
they meet on the road. This mostly arises 
from nervousness, because the objects are 
not familial to them. Therefore, to cure 
the habit, you must get your horse accus- 
tomed to what he sees, and so give him 
confidence. ... Be careful never to stop 
a horse that is drawing a vehicle or load 
in the middle of a hill, except for a rest; 
and if for a rest, draw him across the hill 
and place a big stone behind the wheel, so 
that the strain on the shoulder may be 
eased. Unless absolutely necessary never 
stop a horse on a hill or in a rut, so that 
when he starts again it means a heavy tug. 
Many a horse has been made a jibber and 
his temper spoilt by not observing this 
rule. " A COUNTRY READER," H. B. M. 


That in numbers there is safety is a 
basic principle in the lives of wild cattle, 
probably because their chief enemies, the 
wolves, hunted in packs. It has often been 
related that, when the herd is attacked by 
wolves, the calves are placed at the center 
of the circle made by the cattle, standing 
with heads out and horns ready for attack 
from every quarter. But when a single 
animal, like a bear or tiger, attacks any 
of the herd, they all gather around it in 
a narrowing circle of clashing horns, and 
many of these great beasts of prey have 
thus met their death. The cow is as for- 
midable as the bull to the enemy, since 
her horns are strong and sharp and she 
tosses her victim, unless it is too large. 
The heavy head, strong neck, and short 
massive horns of the bull are not so much 

for defense against enemies as against rival 
bulls. The bull not only tosses and gores 
his victim, but kneels or tramples upon it. 
Both bull and cow have effective weap- 
ons of defense in the hind feet, which 
kick powerfully. The buffalo bull of India 
will attack a tiger single-handed, and usu- 
ally successfully. It is a strange thing that 
all cattle are driven mad by the smell of 
blood, and weird stories are told of the 
stampeding of herds from this cause, on 
the plains of our great West. 

Cattle are essentially grass and herbage 
eaters, and their teeth are peculiarly ar- 
ranged for this. There are eight front teeth 
on the lower jaw, and a horny pad opposite 
them on the upper jaw. Back of these 
on each jaw there is a bare place and six 
grinding teeth on each side. As a cow crops 



John L. Rich 

Bison or American buffalo. The original wild cattle of America 

the herbage, her head is moved up and 
down to aid in severing the leaves, and 
the peculiar sound of the tearing of the 
leaves thus made is not soon forgotten by 
those who have heard it. In the wild or 
domesticated state the habit of cud-chew- 
ing is this: The cattle graze mornings 
and evenings, swallowing the food as fast 
as cropped, and storing it in their ruminat- 
ing stomachs. During the heat of the day, 
they move to the shade, preferably to the 
shady banks of streams, and there in quiet 
the food is brought up, a small portion at 
a time, and chewed with a peculiar side- 
wise movement of the jaws and again 
swallowed. There is probably no more per- 
fect picture of utter contentment than 
a herd of cows chewing their cuds in the 
shade, or standing knee-deep in the cool 
stream on a summer's day. The cattle in 
a herd keep abreast and move along when 
grazing, heads in the same direction. 

Connected with the grazing habit, is 
that of the hiding of the newborn calf 
by its mother; the young calf is a wabbly 
creature and ill-fitted for a long journey; 
so the mother hides it, and there it stays 
" frozen " and will never stir unless ac- 
tually touched. As the mother is obliged 

to be absent for some time grazing with 
the herd, the calf is obliged to go without 
nourishment for a number of hours, and 
so it is provided with a large compound 
stomach which, if filled twice a day, 
suffices to insure health and growth. The 
cow, on the other hand, giving her milk 
out only twice a day, needs a large udder 
in which to store it. The size of the udder 
is what has made the cow useful to us as 
a milch animal. 

A fine cow is a beautiful creature, her 
soft yellow skin beneath the sleek coat of 

Cows in pasture. A Jersey and a Holstein 



Marion E. Wesp 

A very young Jersey calf gets its breakfast 

short hair, the well-proportioned body ? the 
mild face, crowned with spreading, pol- 
ished horns and illuminated with large 
gentle eyes, are all elements of beauty 
which artists have recognized, especially 
those of the Dutch school. The ancients 
also admired bovine eyes, and called their 
most beautiful goddess the ox-eyed Juno. 
The cow's ears can be turned in any di- 
rection, and her sense of hearing is keen; 
so is her sense of smell, aided by the moist, 
sensitive skin of the nose; she always sniffs 
danger and also thus tests her food. Al- 
though a cow if well kept has a sleek coat, 
when she is allowed to run out of doors 
during the winter her hair grows long and 
shaggy as a protection. The cow walks on 
two toes, or as we say has a split hoof. She 
has two lesser toes above and behind the 
hoofs which we call dewclaws. The part 
of her leg which seems at first glance to 
be her knee is really her wrist or ankle. 
Although short-legged, the cow is a good 
runner, as those who have chased her can 
bear witness. She can walk and gallop, and 
has a pacing trot; she is a remarkable 
jumper, often taking a fence like a deer; 
she also has marvelous powers as a swim- 
mer, a case being on record where a cow 
swam five miles. But a cow would be ill- 
equipped for comfort if it were not for 
her peculiar tail, which is made after the 
most approved pattern of fly-brushes, and 
is thus used. Woe betide the fly she hits 
with it, if the blow is as efficient as that 
which she incidentally bestows on the 
head of the milker. It is to get rid of flies 
that the cattle, and especially the buffa- 

loes, wallow in the mud and thus coat 
themselves with a fly-proof armor. 

There is a fairly extensive range of emo- 
tions expressed in cattle language, from 
the sullen bellow of the angry animal to 
the lowing which is the call of the herd, 
and the mooing which is meant for the 
calf; and there are many other bello wings 
and mutterings which we can partially un- 

Every herd of cows has its leader, who 
has won the position by fair fight. Add a 
new cow to the herd, and there is at once 
a trial of strength, to adjust her to her 
proper place; and in a herd of cows, the 
leader leads; she goes first and no one may 
say her nay. In fact, each member of the 
herd has her place in it; and that is why it 
is so easy to teach each cow in a herd to 
take her own stanchion in the stable. In 
a herd of forty cows which I knew, each 
cow took her stanchion, no matter in 
what order she happened to enter the 

A cow at play is a funny sight; her tail 
is lifted aloft like a pennant and she kicks 
as lightly as if she were made of rubber. 
She is also a sure-footed beast, as anyone 
can attest who has seen her running down 
the rocky mountainsides of the Alps at 
a headlong pace and never making a mis- 
take. In lying down, the cow first kneels 
with the front legs, or rather drops on her 
wrists, then the hindquarters go down, 
and the front follow. She does not lie flat 

E. S. Harrison 

Cornell Ormsby Esteem. Holstein heifer, an 
all-American yearling 



on her side when resting, like the horse 
when at ease, but with her legs partially 
under her. In getting up, she rests upon 
her wrists and then lifts the hindquarters. 


When man emerged from the savage 
state, his first step toward civilization was 
domesticating wild animals and training 
them for his own use. During the nomad 
stage, when tribes wandered over the face 
of the earth, they took their cattle along. 
From the first, these animals have been 
used in three capacities: first, for carry- 
ing burdens and as draft animals; second, 
as meat; third, as givers of milk. They were 
also used in the earlier ages as sacrifices to 
the various deities, and in Egypt, some 
were held sacred. 

As beasts of burden and draft animals, 
oxen are still used in many parts of the 
United States. For logging, especially in 
pioneer days, oxen were far more valuable 
than horses. They are patient and will pull 
a few inches at a time, if necessary, a tedi- 
ous work which the nervous horse refuses 
to endure. Cows, too, have been used as 
draft animals, and are so used in China 
today, where they do most of the plowing; 
in these Oriental countries milk is not con- 
sumed to any extent, so the cow is kept 
for the work she can do. In ancient times 
in the East, white oxen formed a part of 
royal processions. 

Because of two main uses of cattle by 
civilized man, he has bred them in two 

Animal Husbandry Dept., Cornell U." 

Glen Carncck's Jessie 9th. Angus heifer ready 
jor the show ring 

Eugene J. Hall 

Lady Fairfax. A prize winning Hereford 
cow. Herefords are one of the leading breeds 
of beef cattle 

directions; for producing beef ? and for 
milk. The beef cattle are chiefly Aberdeen- 
Angus, Galloway, Shorthorn or Durham, 
and Hereford; the dairy breeds are the 
Jersey, Guernsey, Ayrshire, Holstein- 
Friesian and Brown Swiss. The beef ani- 
mal is, in cross section, approximately like 
a brick set sidewise. It should be big and 
full across the loins and back, the shoul- 
ders and hips covered heavily with flesh, 
the legs stout, the neck thick and short, 
and the face short; the line of the back is 
straight, and the stomach line parallel with 
it. Very different is the appearance of the 
milch cow. Her body is oval, instead of be- 
ing approximately square in cross-section, 
The outline of her back is not straight, but 
sags in front of the hips, which are promi- 
nent and bony. The shoulders have little 
flesh on them; and if looked at from above, 
her body is wedge-shaped, widening from 
shoulders backward. The stomach line is 
not parallel with the back bone, but slants 
downward from the shoulder to the udder. 
The following are the points that indi- 
cate a good milch cow: Head high be- 
tween the eyes, showing large air passages 
and indicating strong lungs. Eyes clear 
large, and placid, indicating good disposi- 
tion. Mouth large, with a muscular lowei 
jaw, showing ability to chew efficiently 
and rapidly. Neck thin and fine, showing 
veins through the skin. Chest deep and 
wide, showing plenty of room for heart 
and lungs. Abdomen large but well sup- 
ported, and increasing in size toward the 


rear. Ribs well spread, not meeting the 
spine like the peak of a roof, but the spine 
must be prominent, revealing to the touch 
the separate vertebras. Hips much broader 
than the shoulders. Udder large, the four 
quarters of equal size, and not fat; the 
" milk veins " which carry the blood from 
the udder should be large and crooked, 
passing into the abdomen through large 
openings. Skin soft, pliable, and covered 
with fine, oily hair. She should have good 
digestion and great powers of assimilation. 
The milch cow is a milk-making machine, 
and the more fuel (food) she can use, 
the greater her production. 

E. S. Harrison, 

Cornell Ollie Catherine. A prize-winning 
Holstein cow 

The physiological habits of the beef and 
milch cattle have been changed as much 
as their structure. The food given to the 
beef cow goes to make flesh; while that 
given to the milch cow goes to make milk, 
however abundant her food. Of course, 
there are all grades between the beef and 
the milch types, for many farmers use dual 
herds for both. However, if a farmer is 
producing rnilk it pays him well to get 
the best possible machine to make it, and 
that is always a cow of the milch type. 


All the best breeds of cattle have been 
evolved in the British Isles and in Europe 
north of Italy and west of Russia. All our 
domesticated cattle were developed from 
wild cattle of Europe and Asia. The cattle 
which roam in our rapidly narrowing graz- 

ing lands of the far West are European 
cattle. America had no wild cattle except 
the bison. In geography supplementary 
readers, read about Scotland, England, the 
Channel Islands, the Netherlands, France, 
and Switzerland and the different kinds of 
cattle developed in these countries. 

There are four main ingredients of milk 
- fat, protein, sugar, and ash. The fat is 
for the purpose of supplying the animal 
with fat, which may be used as such, or 
which may be converted into energy. The 
protein supplies the material from which 
muscle tissue is built. The sugar provides 
a source of energy. The protein and sugar 
considered together form what we know 
as curd, which is the main ingredient of 
cheese; however, cheese, to be good, 
should contain a full amount of butter fat. 
The ash which may be seen as residue 
when milk is burned, builds up the bone 
of the animal. 

Jersey cows produce a milk containing 
a higher per cent of fat than any other 
common dairy breed in the United States. 
The Holstein cows produce a large flow 
of milk with a low per cent of fat. The 
quantity of sugar is relatively constant, 
while the protein increases with the fat 
but not in direct proportion. 

The dairy barn should have concrete 
floors and metal equipment to aid in keep- 
ing the surroundings clean. The produc- 
tion of clean milk requires that the cows 
be brushed or groomed each day; that 
their udders be washed before each milk- 
ing, preferably with individual washcloths 
saturated in a mild chlorine solution. As 
soon as the milk is drawn from the udder, 
it should be taken to a dairy house where 
it should be strained into sterilized cans. 
The milk should then be cooled immedi- 
ately, and kept at a low temperature until 
it is ready to be used. Milk absorbs odors 
or flavors very readily, and therefore should 
never be kept in the dairy barn itself. A 
pure quality of milk that may be safely 
consumed raw must be produced by 
healthy cows, cared for by healthy attend- 


ants under sanitary conditions. Pasteuriza- 
tion of milk destroys bacteria and makes it 
possible to keep the milk sweet for several 
days if stored in a refrigerator. 

Milk to be legally sold in New York 
State must possess three per cent of butter 
fat. For upper grades or first-year work in 
the high school, there could not be a 
more profitable exercise than teaching the 
pupils the use of the Babcock milk tester. 


It is impossible to overestimate the im- 
portance of teaching the pupils in rural 
districts the proper care of milch cattle 
for the production of milk. The milch cow 
is a perfect machine, and should be re- 
garded as such in producing milk. First, 
she should have plenty of food of the right 
kind, that is, well-balanced ration. Second, 
she should have a warm, clean stable and 
be supplied with plenty of good fresh air. 
A cold stable makes it necessary to pro- 
vide much more food for the cow; a case 
on record shows that when a barn was 
opened up in cold weather for necessary 
repairing, the amount of milk from the 
cows stabled in it decreased ten per cent 
in twenty-four hours. There should be a 
protected place for drinking, if the cattle 
must be turned out of the barn for water 
in winter; it is far better to have the water 
piped into the barn, although the herd 
should be given a few hours each day in 
the open air. A dog should never be used 
for driving cows. To be profitable, a cow 
should give milk ten months of the year 
at least. Calves should be dehorned when 
they are a few days old by putting caustic 
potash on the budding horns, thus obvi- 
ating the danger of damaging the cow 
by dehorning. 

In a properly run dairy, a pair of scales 
stands near the can for receiving the milk; 
and as the milk from each cow is brought 
in, it is weighed and the amount set down 
opposite the cow's name on a "milk 
sheet " that is tacked on the wall nearby. 
At the end of each week the figures on the 
milk sheet are added, and the farmer 
knows just how much milk each cow is 

giving him, and whether there are any in 
the herd that are not paying their board. 
on the Farm, by Kate E. Agnew and Mar- 
garet Coble; Farm Animals, by James G. 
Lawson; The Pet Boole, by Anna B. Corn- 
stock; Better Dairy Farming, by E. S. 
Savage and L. A. Maynard; Feeds and 
Feeding, by L. A. Maynard; also, some 
of the readings on page 214. 

THE Cow 

LEADING THOUGHT Certain character- 
istics which enable the cow to live suc- 
cessfully as a wild animal have rendered 
her of great use to us as a domestic animal. 

METHOD Begin the lesson by leading 
the pupils to understand the peculiar 
adaptation of cattle for success as wild ani- 
mals. This will have to be done largely by 
reading and asking for oral or written work 
on the following topics: " The Aurochs," 
" Wild Cattle of the Scottish Highlands," 
"The Buffaloes of the Orient/ 7 "The 
American Bison," " The Cowboys of the 
West and Their Work with Their Herds," 
" The Breeds of Beef Cattle, Where They 
Came From, and Where Developed," 
" The Breeds of Milch Cattle, Their Ori- 
gin and Names." The following questions 
may be given out a few at a time and an- 
swered as the pupils have opportunity for 

OBSERVATIONS i. What are the char- 
acteristics of a fine cow? Describe her 
horns, ears, eyes, nose, and mouth. Do you 
think she can hear well? What is the atti- 
tude of her ears when she is listening? Do 
you think she has a keen sense of smell? 
Is her nose moist? Is her hair long or 
short? Smooth or rough? 

2. The cow walks on two toes. Can you 
see any other toes which she does not 
walk on? Why is the cow's foot better 
adapted than that of the horse for walking 
in mud and marshes? What do we call 
the two hind toes which she does not 
walk on? Can you point out on the cow's 
leg those parts which correspond with our 
elbow, wrist, knee, and ankle? Is the cow 



a good runner? Is she a good jumper? Can 
she swim? 

3. For what use was the cow's tail evi- 
dently intended? How do the wild buf- 
faloes and bison get rid of attacks of flies? 

4. How much of cattle language do you 
understand? How does the cow express 
pleasure? Lonesomeness? Anger? How 
does the bull express anger? What does 
the calf express with the voice? 

5. Is there always a leader in a herd of 
cows? Do certain cows of the herd always 
go first and others last? Do the cows read- 
ily learn to take each her own place in the 
stable? How is leadership of the herd at- 
tained? Describe cattle at play. 

6. At what time of day do cattle feed 
in the pasture? When and where do they 
chew the cud? Do they stand or lie to do 
this? Describe how a cow lies down and 
gets up. 

7. How do wild cattle defend them- 
selves from wolves? From bears or other 
solitary animals? 

8. For what purposes were cattle first 
domesticated? For how many purposes do 
we rear cattle today? 

9. Name and give brief descriptions of 
the different breeds of cattle with which 
you are familiar. Which of these are beef 
and which milch types? 

10. What are the distinguishing points 
of a good milch cow? Of a good beef ani- 
mal? What does the food do for each 
of these? Which part of the United States 
produces most beef cattle? Which the 
most milch cattle? 

11. What do we mean by a balanced 
ration? Do you know how to compute 
one? What is the advantage of feeding 
cattle a balanced ration? 

12. What must be the per cent of but- 
ter fat in milk to make it legally salable in 
your state? How many months of the year 
should a good cow give milk? 

13. Should a dog be used in driving 
dairy cows? Why not? 

14. Why is a cool draughty bam an ex- 
pensive place in which to keep cattle? 
Why is a barn not well ventilated a 

15. Why is the dehorning of cattle 
practiced? When and how should a calf 
be dehorned? 

16. Why should milk not be strained 
in the barn? Why is it profitable for the 
dairy farmer to keep his stable clean and 
to be cleanly in the care of milk? How does 
the food of cows affect the flavor of the 
milk? Why should a farmer keep a rec- 
ord of the number of pounds of milk 
which each cow in his dairy gives each 

17. For what are oxen used? Wherein 
are they superior to horses as draft ani- 
mals? Do you know of any place where 
oxen are used as riding animals? 

18. How many industries are depend- 
ent upon cattle? 

19. Give oral or written exercises on the 
following themes: " How the Best Butter 
Is Made "; " The Use of Bacteria in But- 
ter"; "How Dairy Cheese Is Made"; 
" How Fancy Cheeses Are Made/ 7 


I wander through the underbresh, 
Where pig tracks pintin' to'rds the crick, 
Is picked and printed in the fresh 
Black bottom-lands, like wirnmern prick 
Their pie-crusts with a fork RILEY 

By a forest law of William the First of 
England in the eleventh century, it was 
ordained that any that were found guilty 
of killing the stag or the roebuck or the 

wild boar should have their eyes put out . 
This shows that the hunting of the wild 
boar in England was considered a sport 
of gentlemen in an age when nothing was 


Breakfast, cafeteria style 

Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. D. A. 

considered sport unless it was dangerous. 
The wild hog of Europe is the ancestor 
of our common domesticated breeds, al- 
though the Chinese domesticated their 
own wild species, even before the dawn of 

The wild hog likes damp situations 
where it may wallow in the water and 
mud; but it also likes to have, close by, 
woods, thicket, or underbrush, to which 
it can retire for rest and also when in 
danger. The stiff, bristling hairs which 
cover its thick skin are a great protection 
when it is pushing through thorny thick- 
ets. When excited or angry, these bristles 
rise and add to the fury of its appearance. 
Even in our own country the wild hogs of 
the South whose ancestors escaped from 
domestication have reverted to their origi- 
nal savagery, and are dangerous when in- 
furiated. The only recorded instance when 
our great national hunter, Theodore 
Roosevelt, was forced ignominiously to 
climb a tree, was after he had emptied 
his rifle into a herd of " javelins/' as the 
wild pigs of Texas are called; the javelins 
are the peccaries, which are the American 
representatives of the wild hog. 

That the hog has become synonymous 
with filth is the result of the influence of 
man upon this animal, for of all animals, 
the pig is naturally the neatest, keeping 
its bed clean, often in the most discourag- 

ing and ill-kept pens. The pig is sparsely 
clothed with bristles and hairs, which yield 
it no protection from the attacks of flies 
and other insects. Thus it is that the pig, 
in order to rid itself of these pests, has 
learned to wallow in the mud. However, 
this is in the nature of a mud bath, and 
is for the purpose of keeping the body free 
from vermin. The wild hogs of India make 
for themselves grass huts, thatched above 
and with doors at the sides, which shows 
that the pig, if allowed to care for itself, 
understands well the art of nest building. 
One of the most interesting things 
about a pig is its nose; this is a fleshy disc 
with nostrils in it and is a most sensitive 
organ of feeling; it can select grain from 

Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. D. A. 

Razorback. A hog of no definite breed, 
which is allowed to roam at will in some of 
the southern states 



Duroc-Jersey boar 

chaff, and yet it is so strong that it can root 
up the ground in search for food. " Root " 
is a pig word, and was evidently coined to 
describe the act of the pig when digging 
for roots; the pig's nose is almost as re- 
markable as the elephant's trunk, and the 
pig's sense of smell is very keen; it will 
follow a track almost as well as a dog. 
There are more instances than one of a 
pig being trained as a pointer for hunting 
birds, and showing a keener sense of smell 
and keener intelligence in this capacity 
than do dogs. French pigs are taught to 
hunt for truffles, which are fungi growing 
on tree roots, a long way below the surface 
of the ground; the pig detects their pres- 
ence through the sense of smell. 

The pig has a full set of teeth, having six 
incisors, two canines, and seven grinding 
teeth on each jaw; although in some cases 
there are only four incisors on the upper 
jaw. A strange thing about a pig's teeth 
is the action of the upper canines, or 
tushes, which curve upward instead of 
downward; the lower canines grind up 
against them, and are thus sharpened. The 
females have no such development of 
upper tushes as do the males; these 

W~WjJi?%<' , " v-,v." 

tushes, especially the upper ones, are used 
as weapons; with them, the wild boar 
slashes out and upward, inflicting terrible 
wounds, often disabling horses and kill- 
ing men. Professor H. F. Button describes 
the fighting of hogs thus: " To oppose the 
terrible weapons of his rival, the boar has 
a shield of skin over his neck and shoul- 
ders, which may become two inches thick, 
and so hard as to defy a knife. When two 
of these animals fight, each tries to keep 
the tushes of his opponent against the 
shield, and to get his own tushes under 
the belly or flank of the other. Thus, each 

Poland China hog 

Eugene J. Hall 

Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. D. A. 

Hampshire boar 

goes sidewise or in circles, which has given 
rise to the expression, ' to go sidewise like 
a hog to war.' " 

When, as a small girl, I essayed the 
difficult task of working buttonholes, I 
was told if I did not set my stitches more 
closely together, my buttonhole would 
look like a pig's eye, a remark which made 
me observant of that organ ever after. 
But though the pig's eyes are small, they 
certainly gleam with intelligence, and they 
take in all that is going on which may in 
any way affect his pigship. 

The pig is the most intelligent of all 
the farm animals, if it is only given a 
chance; it has excellent memory and can 
be taught tricks readily; it is affectionate 
ancl will follow its master around like a 
dog. Anyone who has seen a trained pig 
at a show picking out cards and counting 
must grant that it has brains. We stuff it 
so with fattening food, however, that it 
does not have a chance to use its brain, ex- 
cept now and then when it breaks out of 
the sty and we try to drive it back. Under 


these circumstances, we grant the pig all 
the sagacity usually imputed to the one 
who once possessed swine and drove them 
into the sea. Hunters of wild hogs pro- 
claim that they are full of strategy and 
cunning, and are exceedingly fierce. 

The head of the wild hog is wedge- 
shaped with pointed snout, and this form 
enables the animal to push into the thick 
underbrush along the river banks when- 
ever it is attacked. But civilization has 
changed this bold profile of the head, so 
that now in many breeds there is a hollow- 
between the snout and eyes, giving the 
form which we call " dished/ 7 Some 
breeds have sharp, forward-opening ears, 
while others have ears that lop. The wild 
pig of Europe and Asia has large, open 
ears extending out wide and alert on each 
side of the head. 

The covering of the pig is a thick skin 
beset with bristling hairs; when the hog 
is excited, the bristles rise and add to the 
fury of its appearance. The bristles aid in 
* protecting the animal when it is pushing 
through thorny thickets. The pig's querly 
tail is merely an ornament, although the 
tail of the wart hog of Africa, if pictures 
may be relied upon, might be used in a 
limited fashion as a fly-brush. 

When the pig is allowed to roam in 
the woods, it lives on roots, nuts, and es- 
pecially acorns and beech nuts; in the 
autumn it becomes very fat through feed- 
ing upon the latter. The mast-fed bacon 
of the semi-wild hogs of the southern 
states is considered the best of all. But 

Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. D. A. 

Tamworth barrow } a bacon type 

Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. D. A. 

A champion Berkshire sow 

almost anything, animal or vegetable, that 
comes in its way is eaten by the hog, and it 
has been long noted that the hog has 
done good sendee on our frontier as a 
killer of rattlesnakes. The pig is well fitted 
for locomotion on either wet or dry soil, 
for the two large hoofed toes enable it 
to walk well on dry ground and the two 
hind toes, smaller and higher up, help to 
sustain it on marshy soil. Although the 
pig's legs are short, it is a swift runner 
unless it is too fat. The razor-backs of the 
South are noted for their fleetness. 

We understand somewhat the pig's 
language: the constant grunting, which 
is a sound that keeps the pig herd to- 
gether, the complaining squeal of hunger, 
the satisfied grunt signifying enjoyment 
of food, the squeal of terror when seized, 
and the nasal growl when fighting. But 
there is much more to the pig's conver- 
sation than this; I knew a certain lady, a 
lover of animals, who once undertook to 
talk pig language as best she could imitate 
it, to two of her sows when they were en- 
gaged in eating. They stopped eating, 
looked at each other a moment and forth- 
with began fighting, each evidently attrib- 
uting the lady's remark to the other, and 
obviously it was of an uncomplimentary 

The pig's ability to take on fat was evi- 
dently a provision, in the wild state, for 
storing up from mast fat that should help 
sustain the animal during the hardships 
of winter; and this characteristic is what 
makes swine useful for our own food. Pigs, 
to do best, should be allowed to have pas- 
ture and plenty of fresh green food. Their 
troughs should be kept clean and they 


1. RHINOCEROS. From two Greek words 
which mean " nose " and " horn }} we have the 
word " rhinoceros." Note the hornlike projec- 
tion on the nose of this African animal which 
is shown in the picture ; a form in Asia differs 
slightly in appearance. Range: Tropical por- 
tions of Asia and Africa. 

2. HIPPOPOTAMUS. This thick-skinned, 
short-legged, four-toed animal is at home in 
the rivers of Africa. It feeds chiefly on grass 
and aquatic plants. The word "hippopota- 
mus " is derived from two Greek words which 
mean "river" and "horse" 

3. KANGAROO. The short forelegs and the 
powerful hind legs which it uses for jumping 
give the kangaroo a unique appearance. By 
means of great leaps, this animal travels rap- 
idly. The immature young are carried in an 
external pouch. There are various kinds of 
kangaroos; the red kangaroo is shown in the 

4. ZEBRA. These swift, wild animals of 
Africa are members of the horse family; their 
unique color arrangement, of dark stripes on 
a tawny background, is definitely character- 
istic of them. The colt in the picture is one 
week old. 

5. MALAY TIGER. The range of this large 
member of the cat family extends throughout 
most of Asia from southern Siberia south to 
Java and Sumatra. In color, a Malay tiger is 
tawny with black cross stripes. The male, 
much larger than the female, may reach a 
length of ten feet including the tail. 

6. POLAR BEAR. Found in Arctic regions, 
this white bear is to be seen on ice floes as 
well as swimming about in the water; it may 
weigh as much as 1500 pounds and reach a 
length of 9 feet. 

Photographs by New York Zoological Society 

7. NUBIAN GIRAFFE. This uniquely spotted 
African mammal may reach a height of 
twenty feet. By means of a very long neck 
and a grasping tongue, it can easily secure 
for its food leaves from trees. While it may 
remind one somewhat of a horse, it is really, 
to some extent, like a cow; it chews a cud. 

Long ago the camel was domesticated by man 
and is to this day an important beast of bur- 
den in northern Africa and western Asia. It 
is especially adapted to withstand the hard- 
ships of the deserts; it can go without drink- 
ing water for several days because certain 
portions of its stomach serve as water reser- 
voirs. Water can be taken in large quantities 
and then used as needed. There is a one- 
humped camel known as the Arabian or 
dromedary camel. 

American mammal is incorrectly called 
" elk " ; that title really belongs to our moose, 
which is a true elk. The wapiti's range is now 
restricted chiefly to more remote regions of 
the western United States and Canada; but 
formerly the animal was found also in the 
central and eastern United States. In color, it 
is chestnut red in summer and rather grayish 
in winter. 

Only the males possess antlers; these are of 
solid bone, are directed forwards with the 
prongs upward, and are shed every spring. 
These deer were formerly very common in 
the plains and forests of the central and 
southern United States; but now they are 
abundant in only certain of the wilder por- 
tions of their former range. Their food con- 
sists of buds, leaves, tender bark, and various 
other forms of plant life. 



should have access to ashes, and above all, 
they should have plenty of pure water; and 
as the pig does not perspire freely, access 
to water where it can take its natural mud 
baths helps to keep the body cool and the 
pig healthy in hot weather. 

The breeds of hogs most common in 
America are the Berkshire, which are 
black and white markings, and have ears 
extending erect; the Poland China, which 
are black and white with drooping ears; 

A family meal 

Marion E. Wesp 

the Duroc-Jersey, which are red or chest- 
nut with drooping ears; the Yorkshire and 
Cheshire, which are white with erect ears; 
and the Chester White, which are white 
with drooping ears. The Poland China 
and Duroc-Jersey are both pure American 

the Farm, by Kate E. Agnew and Margaret 
Coble; Farm Animals, by James G. Law- 
son; Mother Nature Series, by Fannie W. 
Dunn and Eleanor Troxell, Book i, Baby 
Animals; The Pet Book, by Anna B. Corn- 
stock; also, some of the readings on 
page 214. 


LEADING THOUGHT The pig is some- 
thing more than a source of pork. It is a 
sagacious animal and naturally cleanly in 
its habits when not made prisoner by man. 

METHOD The questions in this lesson 

may be given to the pupils a few at a 
time, and those who have access to farms 
or other places where pigs are kept may 
make the observations, which should be 
discussed when they are given to the class. 
Supplementary reading should be given 
the pupils, which may inform them as to 
the habits and peculiarities of the wild 
hogs. Theodore Roosevelt's experience in 
hunting the wart hog in Africa will prove 
interesting reading. 

OBSERVATIONS i. How does the pig's 
nose differ from that of other animals? 
What is it used for besides for smelling? 
Do you think the pig's sense of smell is 
very keen? Why do pigs root? 

Describe the pig's teeth. For what 


are they fitted? What are the tushes for? 
Which way do the upper tushes turn? 
How do wild hogs use their tushes? 

3. Do you think that a pig's eyes look 
intelligent? What color are they? Do you 
think the pig can see well? 

4. Is the pig's head straight in front or 
is it dished? Is this dished appearance ever 
found in wild hogs? Do the ears stand out 
straight or are they lopped? What ad- 
vantage is the wedge-shaped head to the 
wild hogs? 

5. How is the pig covered? Do you 
think the hair is thick enough to keep off 
flies? Why does the pig wallow in the 
mud? Is it because the animal is dirty by 
nature or because it is trying to keep clean? 
Do the hog's bristles stand up if it is 

6. If the pig could have its natural food 
what would it be and where would it be 
found? Why and on what should pigs be 
pastured? What do pigs find in the forest 
to eat? What kind of bacon is considered 
the best? 

7. On how many toes does the pig walk? 
Are there other toes on which it does not 
walk? If wading in the mud are the two 
hind toes of use? Do wild pigs run rapidly? 
Do tame pigs run rapidly if they are not 
too fat? Do you think the pig can swim? 
Do you think that the pig's tail is of any 
use or merely an ornament? 

8. What cries and noises do the pigs 
make which we can understand? 


9. How do hogs fight each other? When 
the boars fight, how do they attack or 
ward off the enemy? Where do we get 
the expression " going sidewise like a hog 
to war "? 

10. How many breeds of pigs do you 
know? Describe them. 

1 1 . What instances have you heard that 
show the hog's intelligence? 

12. Give an oral or written English ex- 


Were Regarded by the Ancient Egyptians, 
Greeks, and Romans " (see encyclope- 
dia); " The Story of Hunting Wild Hogs 
in India "; " The Razor-Back Hogs of the 
South "; " The Wart Hog of Africa "; 
" Popular Breeds of Hogs." 

The nice little pig with a guerly tail, 
All soft as satin and pinky pale 
Is a very different thing by far 

ercise on one of the following topics: Than the Jumps of iniquity big pigs are. 
" The Antiquity of Swine; How They NONSENSE RHYME 


Luna moth 

Cecropia moth 

Wood engraving by Anna Botsford Comstock 

Juno moth 

Insects are among the most interesting 
and available of all living creatures for 
nature-study. The lives of many of them 
afford more interesting stories than are 
found in fairy lore; many of them show 
exquisite colors; and, most important of 
all, they are small and are, therefore, easily 
confined for observation. 

About us on every side are myriads of 
tiny creatures that commonly pass un- 
noticed, and even when we observe them, 
we usually think them unworthy of se- 
rious consideration. But all life is linked 
together in such a way that no part of the 
chain is unimportant. Frequently the ac- 
tion of some of these minute beings seri- 
ously affects the material success or failure 
of a great commonwealth. The introduc- 
tion and spread of a single species of insect 
(the cottony-cushion scale) in Califor- 
nia threatened the destruction of the ex- 
tensive orchards of that state; thousands of 
trees perished. The introduction of a few 
individuals of a particular kind of lady-bug 

(Rodolia cardinalis), which feeds upon 
this pest and multiplies rapidly, soon 
checked the pest ? and averted the disaster. 

But insects are of interest to us for 
other reasons than the influence they may 
have upon our material welfare; the study 
of them is a fruitful field for intellectual 
growth. It is not a small matter to be able 
to view intelligently the facts presented by 
the insect world, to know something of 
what is going on around us. And so exten- 
sive and complex is this field that no one 
gains more than a mere smattering con- 
cerning it. 

We know as yet comparatively little 
about the minute structure of insects; the 
transformations and habits of the greater 
number of species have not been studied; 
and the blood-relationship of the various 
groups of insects is very imperfectly under- 
stood. If, therefore, one would learn some- 
thing of the action of the laws that govern 
the life and development of organized 
beings, and at the same time experience 



the pleasure derived from original investi- 
gation, he cannot find a better field than 
is offered by the study of insects. 

But it is not necessary that one should 
have the tastes and leisure required for 
careful scientific investigation in order to 
profit by this study. It can be made a 
recreation, a source of entertainment 
when we are tired, a pleasant occupation 
for our thoughts when we walk. Any one 
can find out something new regarding in- 
sect architecture the ways in which 
these creatures build nests for them- 
selves or for their young. It is easy to ob- 
serve remarkable feats of engineering, 
wonderful industry, unremitting care of 
young, tragedies, and even war and slav- 

The abundance of insects makes it easy 
to study them. They can be found where- 
ever man can live, and at all seasons. This 
abundance is even greater than is com- 
monly supposed. The number of individ- 
uals in a single species is beyond compu- 
tation: who can count the aphids or the 
scale-insects in a single orchard, or the 
bees in a single meadow? 

Not only are insects numerous when we 
regard individuals, but the number of 
species is far greater than that of all other 
animals taken together. The number of 
species in a single family is greater in sev- 
eral cases than the number of stars visible 
in a clear night. 

The word insect is often applied incor- 
rectly to any minute animal; but the term 
should be restricted to those forms possess- 
ing six legs and belonging to the class, 
Hexapoda. The name Hexapoda is from 
two Greek words : hex, six; and pous, foot. 
It refers to the fact that the members of 
this order differ from other arthropods in 
the possession of only six feet. Thus 
spiders, which have eight legs, are not in- 

Insects breathe by means of a system 
of air-tubes (tracheae) which extend 
through the body. This is true even in the 
case of those that live in water and are 
supplied with gill-like organs (the tracheal 
gills). The head is distinct from the tho- 
rax, and bears a single pair of antennae; in 

these respects they are allied to the milli- 
pedes and centipedes although they are ap- 
parently more closely related to a small 
group of animals known as symphylids. 

Insects can be easily distinguished by 
the number of their feet, and usually, also 
by the presence of wings. 

While the young pupils should not be 
drilled in insect anatomy as if they were 
embryo zoologists, yet it is necessary for 
the teacher who would teach intelli- 
gently to know something of the life 
stories, habits, and structure of the com- 
mon insects. 

Nearly all insects in the course of their 
lives undergo remarkable changes in form. 
Thus the butterfly, which delights us with 
its airy flight, was at one time a caterpillar; 
and the busy bee lived first the life of a 
clumsy grub. Generally speaking, insects 
develop from eggs. The word egg brings 
before most of us the picture of the egg of 
the hen or of some other bird. But insect 
eggs are often far more beautiful than those 
of any bird; they are of widely differing 
forms and are often exquisitely colored; 
the shells may be ornately ribbed and pit- 
ted, are sometimes adorned with spines, and 
are as beautiful to look at through a micro- 
scope as the most artistic piece of mosaic. 

From the eggs, larvae (singular, larva) 
issue. These larvae may be caterpillars, or 
the creatures commonly called worms, or 
perhaps maggots or grubs. The larval stage 
is devoted to feeding and to growth. 
It is the chief business of the larva to 
eat diligently and to attain maturity as 
soon as possible; for often the length 
of the larval period depends more upon 
food than upon lapse of time. All in- 
sects have their skeletons on the outside 
of the body; that is, the outer covering of 
the body is chitinous, and the soft and 
inner parts are attached to it and sup- 
ported by it. This skin is so firm that it can- 
not stretch to accommodate the increas- 
ing size of the growing insect, so from 
time to time it is shed. But before this is 
done, a new skin is formed beneath the 
old one. After the old skin bursts open 
and the insect crawls forth, the new skin 
is sufficiently soft and elastic to allow for 


the increase in the size of the insect. 
Soon the new skin becomes hardened like 
the old one ? and after a time is shed. This 
shedding of the skin is called molting. 

Eggs of insects: 1, the tree-cricket, (Ecan- 
thua nigricornus ; 2, the White Mountain but- 
terfly, CEnis semidea; 3, stinkbug, Piezoste- 
rum subulatum; 4, water-measurer, Hydrom- 
etra martini 

Some insects shed their skins only four or 
five times during the period of attaining 
their growth., while other species may 
molt twenty times or more. 

After the larva has attained its full 
growth it changes its skin and its form, 
and becomes a pupa. The pupa stage is 
ordinarily one of inaction, except that very 
wonderful changes take place within the 
body itself. Usually the pupa has no 
power of moving around, but in many 
cases it can squirm somewhat, if dis- 
turbed. The pupa of the mosquito is ac- 
tive and is an exception to the rule. The 
pupa is usually an oblong object and 
seems to be without head, feet, or wings; 

M. V. Slingerland 

Full-grown caterpillar of the luna moth 

but if it is examined closely, especially in 
the case of butterflies and moths, the an- 
tennas, wings, and legs may be seen, folded 
down beneath the pupa skin. 

Many larvas, especially among the 
moths, weave about themselves a covering 
of silk which serves to protect them from 
their enemies and the weather during the 
helpless pupa period. This silken covering 
is called a cocoon. The larva? of butterflies 
do not make a silken cocoon, but the 
pupa is suspended to some object by a 
silken knob, sometimes by a halter of silk, 
and remains entirely naked. The pupa of a 
butterfly is called a chrysalis. Care should 
be taken to have the children use the 
words pupa, chrysalis, and cocoon under- 

M. V. Slingerland 

The forest tent-caterpillar shedding its skin 

M. V. Slingerland 

A luna cocoon cut open, showing the pupa 



A butterfly chrysalis 

After a period varying from days to 
months, depending upon the species of 
insect and the climate, the pupa skin 
bursts open and from it emerges the adult 
insect, often equipped with large and 
beautiful wings and always provided with 
six legs and a far more complex structure 
of the body than characterized it as a larva. 
The insect never grows after it reaches this 
adult stage and therefore never molts. 
Some people seem to believe that a small 
fly will grow into a large fly, and a small 
beetle into a large beetle; but after an in- 
sect attains its perfect wings it does not 
grow larger. Many adult insects take very 
little food, although some continue to eat 
in order to support life. The adult stage is 
ordinarily shorter than the larval stage; it 
seems a part of nature's economic plan 
that the grown-up insects should live only 
long enough to lay eggs, and thus secure 

the continuation of the species. Insects 
having the four distinct stages in their 
growth, egg, larva, pupa, and adult, are 
said to undergo complete metamorphosis. 
But not all insects pass through an in- 
active pupa stage. With some insects, like 
the grasshoppers, the young, as soon as 
they are hatched, resemble the adult forms 

Insect brownies; tree hoppers as seen through 
a lens 

in appearance. These insects, like the 
larvae, shed their skins to accommodate 
their growth, but they continue to feed 
and move about actively until the final 
molt when the perfect insect appears. 
Such insects are said to have incomplete 
metamorphosis, which simply means that 
the form of the body of the adult insect is 
not greatly different from that of the 
young; the dragonflies, crickets, grasshop- 
pers, and bugs are of this type. It must be 
remembered that while many people refer 
to all insects as bugs, the term bug is cor- 

The delicate, exquisite green of the luna's wings is set 
off by the rose-purple, velvet border of the front wings, 
and the white fur on the body and inner edge of the hind 
wings. Little wonder that it has been called the " Empress 
of the Night." The long swallow tail of the hind wings 
gives the moth a most graceful shape, and at the same 
time probably affords it protection from observation. 
During the daytime the moth hangs, wings down, be- 
neath the green leaves, and these long projections of the 
hind wings folded together resemble a petiole, making the 
insect look very much like a large leaf 

The grasshopper is an example oj incomplete 

1 nymph, first stage; 2, nymph, second stage; 3, 
nymph, third stage; 4, nymph, fourth stage; 5, nymph, 
fifth stage; 6, adult 



rectly applied only to one group of in- 
sects. This group includes such forms as 
stinkbugs, squash bugs, plant lice, and 

tree hoppers. The young of insects with 
an incomplete metamorphosis are called 
nymphs instead of larvae. 


Kinds of Metamorphosis 

I. Complete metamorphosis 
(example, butterfly) 

II. Incomplete metamorphosis 
(example, grasshopper) 

The insect body is made up of ringlike 
segments which are grown together. 
These segments are divided into groups 
according to their use and the organs 
which they bear. Thus the segments of an 
insect's body are grouped into three re- 
gions: the head, the thorax, and the ab- 
domen. The head bears the eyes, the an- 
tennae, and the mouth-parts. On each side 

A part of the compound eye, enlarged, of an 

of the head of the adult insect may be 
seen the compound eyes; these are so 
called because they are made up of many 
small eyes set together, much like the cells 
of the honeycomb. These compound eyes 
are not found in larvag of insects with 
complete metamorphosis, such as caterpil- 
lars, maggots, and beetle grubs. In addi- 
tion to the compound eyes, many adult in- 
sects possess simple eyes; these are placed 
between the compound eyes and are usu- 
ally three in number. Often they cannot 
be seen without the aid of a lens. 

The antennae or feelers are composed 
of many segments and are inserted in front 
of the eyes or between them. They vary 

Names of Stages 



Pupa. (Among the moths the pupa is 

sometimes enclosed in a cocoon.) 
1 Adult or winged insect. 


^ Nymph (several stages). 

[Adult, or imago. 

greatly in form. In some insects they 
are mere threads; in others, like the silk- 
worm moths, they are large, feather-like 


May Gyger 

Grasshopper, with the parts of the external 
anatomy named 

The mouth-parts of insects vary greatly 
in structure and in form, being adapted to 
the life of the insect species to which they 
minister. Some insects have jaws fitted for 
seizing their prey, others for chewing 
leaves; others have a sucking tube for get- 
ting the juices from plants or the blood 
from animals, and others long delicate 
tubes for sipping the nectar from flowers. 



M. V. Slingerland 

A sphinx moth with the sucking tongue un- 

In the biting insects, the mouth-parts 
consist of an upper lip, the labrum, 
an under lip, the labium, and two pairs 
of jaws between them. The upper pair 
of jaws is called the mandibles and the 
lower pair, the maxillae (singular maxilla) . 
There may be also within the mouth one 
or two tonguelike organs. Upon the 
maxillae and upon the lower lip there may 
also be feelers, which are called palpi 
(singular palpus). The jaws of insects, 
when working, do not move up and down, 
as do ours, but move sidewise like shears. 
In many of the insects, children can ob- 
serve the mandibles and the palpi without 
the aid of a lens. 

The thorax is the middle region of the 
insect body. It is composed of three of the 
body segments more or less firmly joined 
together. The segment next the head is 
called the prothorax, the middle one, the 

The mouth of the tree hopper, shown here 
extending beneath the body, is a long, three- 
jointed sucking tube 

mesothorax, and the hind one, the meta- 
thorax. Each of these segments bears a 
pair of legs and, in the winged insects, the 
second and third segments bear the wings. 

The mouth-parts of a grasshopper, enlarged 
and named 

8, upper lip or labrum; 10, mandibles or upper jaws; 
11, maxillae or lower jaws; 12, under lip or labium; 13, 
tongue; d, palpi 

Each leg consists of two small segments 
next to the body, next to them a longer 
segment, called the femur, beyond this a 
segment called the tibia, and beyond this 
the tarsus or foot. The tarsus is made up 
of a number of segments, varying from 
one to six, the most common number be- 

.... ABDOMEN., 

T ^ \u&r ~ WLESS PROPLEe 

May Gyger 

A caterpillar, with the parts of the external 
anatomy named 

ing five. The last segment of the tarsus 
usually bears one or two claws. 

While we have little to do with the in- 
ternal anatomy of insects in elementary 
nature-study, the children should be 
taught something of the way that insects 
breathe. The child naturally believes that 
the insect, like himself, breathes through 



the mouth, but as a matter of fact insects 
breathe through their sides. If we examine 
almost any insect carefully, we can find 
along the sides of the body a series of 
openings. These are called the spiracles, 
and through them the air passes into the 
insect's body. The number of spiracles 
varies greatly in different insects. There is, 
however, never more than one pair on a 
single segment of the body, and they do 
not occur on the head. The spiracles, or 
breathing pores, lead into a system of air 
tubes which are called trachese (tra'- 
Jce-ee), which permeate the insect's body 
and thus carry the air to every smallest 
part of its anatomy. The blood of the in- 
sect bathes these thin-walled air tubes and 
thus becomes purified, just as our blood 
becomes purified by bathing the air tubes 
of our lungs. Thus, although the insects 
do not have localized breathing organs, 
like our lungs, they have, if the expression 
may be permitted, lungs in every part of 
their little bodies. 

sons on Insects, by James G. Needham; 
Field Book of Insects, by Frank E. Lutz; 
Hand Book for the Curious, by Paul G. 
Howes; Insect Life, by John Henry Corn- 
stock; Insect Ways, by Clarence M. Weed; 
An Introduction to Entomology, by John 
Henry Comstock; A Manual for the Study 
of Insects, by John Henry Comstock, 
Anna B. Comstock, and Glenn W. Her- 
rick; Nature Study and Science, by Gil- 
bert H. Trafton; Our Insect Friends and 
Foes and Spiders, published by the Na- 
tional Geographic Society; Parade of the 
Animal Kingdom, by Robert Hegner; ad- 
ditional references are to be found in the 
bibliography in the back of this Hand- 
book, under various headings: Insects and 
Other Invertebrates, Animals in Gen- 
eral, Nature-Study in General, Textbooks 
and Readers, Nature Poetry, Magazines 
and Periodicals, Books for Parents and 
Teachers. Many state and federal bulle- 
tins give additional information. 



Compound eyes. 
Simple eyes or ocelli. 

Labrum, or upper lip. 

, , i , Mandibles, or upper jaws. 

Mouth-parts Maxillae, or lower jaws, and maxillary palpi. 

Labium and labial palpi. 


Pro thorax and first pair of legs. 
Mesothoraxand / second pair of legs. 

Metathorax and 



first pair of wings, 
third pair of legs, 
second pair of wings. 



Two small segments called coxa and tro- 



Tarsus and claws. 


The abdomen bears 

ears (in locusts only) 






Some insects go through all the stages pecially well adapted for nature-study be- 

of their development on land; these are cause specimens are constantly available, 

the insects of fields and woods. This The insects presented from page 301 to 

group includes some of the most interest^ page 400 are common examples of this 

ing and beautiful of insects. They are es- group. 


This graceful butterfly is a very good 
friend to the flowers, being a most effi- 
cient pollen-carrier. It haunts the gardens 
and sips nectar from all the blossom cups 
held out for its refreshment; and it is 
found throughout almost all parts of the 
United States. The grace of its appearance 
is much enhanced by the " swallowtails/ 7 
two projections from the hind margins of 
the hind wings. The wings are velvety 
black with three rows of yellow spots 
across them, the outer row being little 
crescents set in the margin of the wing; 
and each triplet of yellow spots is in the 
same cell of the wing between the same 
two veins. The hind wings are more elabo- 
rate, for between the two inside rows of 
yellow spots, there are exquisite metallic 
blue splashes, more vivid and more sharply 
outlined toward the inside of the wing 
and shading off to black at the outside. 
And just above the inner angle of the 
hind wing is an orange eyespot with a 
black center. On the lower surface of the 

M. V. Slingerland 

Black swallowtail butterfly 

M. V. Slingerland 

The eggs of the black swallowtail butterfly, 

wings, most of the yellow spots are re- 
placed with orange. 

The mother butterfly is larger than her 
mate and has more blue on her wings, while 
he has the yellow markings of the hind 
wings much more conspicuous. She lays 
her eggs, which are just the color of a drop 
of honey, on the under surface of the 
leaves of the food plant. After about ten 
days there hatch from these eggs spiny lit- 
tle fellows, black and angular, each with a 
saddle-shaped, whitish blotch in the mid- 
dle of the back. But it would take an elfin 
rider to sit in this warty, spiny saddle. The 
caterpillar has six spines on each segment, 
making six rows of spines the whole length 
of the body; the spines on the black por- 
tions are black and those on the saddle 
white, but they all have orange-colored 

When little, spiny saddle-back gets 
ready to change its skin to one more 
commodious for its increased size, it seeks 


Dept. of Entomology, Cornell U. 

Black swallowtail caterpillars, showing two 
stages of growth 

some convenient spot on the leaf or stem 
and spins a little silken carpet from the 
silk gland opening in its under lip; on this 
carpet it rests quietly for some time, and 
then the old tight skin splits down the 
back, the head portion coming off sepa- 
rately. Swelling out to fill its new skin to 
the utmost, the caterpillar leaves its cast- 
off clothes clinging to the silken carpet 
and marches back to its supper. 

But after one of these changes of skin 
it becomes a very different looking cater- 
pillar, for now it is as smooth as it was 
formerly spiny; it is now brilliant caraway 
green, ornamented with roundwise stripes 
of velvety black; and set in the front, 
margin of each of these stripes are six yel- 
low spots. In shape, the caterpillar is larger 
toward the head; its true feet have little, 
sharp claws and look very different from 
the four pairs of prolegs and the hind 
prop-leg, all of which enable him to hold 
fast to the stem or the leaf; these fat legs 
are green, each ornamented with a black/ 
velvety polka dot. 

When we were children we spent hours 
poking these interesting creatures with 
straws to see them push forth their bril- 
liant orange horns. We knew this was an 
act of resentment, but we did not realize 
that from these horns was exhaled the 
nauseating odor of caraway which greeted 

our nostrils. We incidentally discovered 
that they did not waste this odor upon 
each other, for once we saw two of the 
full-grown caterpillars meet on a caraway 
stem. Neither seemed to know that the 
other was there until they touched; then 
both drew back the head and butted each 
other like billy goats, whack! whack! Then 
both turned laboriously around and hur- 
ried off in a panic. 

The scent organs of these caterpillars 
are really little Y-shaped pockets in the 
segment back of the head, pockets full of 
this peculiar caterpillar perfume. Under 
the stimulus of attack, the pocket is 
turned wrong side out and pushed far out 
making the " horns/' and at the same 
time throwing the strong odor upon the 
air. This spoils the flavor of these cater- 
pillars as bird food, so they live on in 
serene peace, never hiding under the 
leaves but trusting, like the skunk, to a 
peculiar power of repelling the enemy. 

We must admire this caterpillar for the 
methodical way in which it eats the leaf: 
beginning near the base, it does not burn 
its bridges behind it by eating through the 
midrib, but eats everything down to the 
midrib; after it arrives at the tip of the leaf 
it finishes midrib and all on its return 
journey, doing a clean job, and finishing 
everything as it moves along. 

When the caterpillar has completed its 
growth, it is two inches long; it then seeks 
some sheltered spot, the lower edge of a 
clapboard or fence rail being a favorite 
place; it there spins a button of silk which 
it grasps firmly with its hind prop-leg, and 
then, with head up, or perhaps horizontal, 
it spins a strong loop or halter of silk, fas- 
tening each end of it firmly to the object 
on which it rests. It thrusts its head 
through, so that the halter acts as a sling 
holding the insect from falling. There it 
sheds its last caterpillar skin, which 
shrinks back around the button, revealing 
the chrysalis, which is angular with earlike 
projections in front. Then comes the criti- 
cal moment, for the chrysalis lets go of 
the button with its caterpillar feet, and, 
trusting to the sling for support, pushes 
off the shrunken skin just shed and in- 



serts the hooks with which it is furnished 
firmly in the button of silk. Sometimes 
during this process, the chrysalis loses its 
hold entirely and falls to the ground, 
which is a fatal disaster. The chrysalis is 
yellowish brown and usually looks very 
much like the object to which it is at- 
tached, and is thus undoubtedly protected 
from the sight of possible enemies. Then 
some day it breaks open, and from it issues 
a crumpled mass of very damp insect vel- 
vet, which soon expands into a beautiful 

Moth Book, by Ellen Robertson-Miller; 
Holiday Meadow, by Edith M. Patch; 
How to Know the Butterflies, by John 
Henry Comstock and Anna B. Comstock; 
Nature by Seaside and Wayside, by 
Mary G. Phillips and Julia M. Wright, 
Book 3, Plants and Animals; Now for 
Creatures, by Shelby Shackelford; Scien- 
tific Living Series, Winter Comes and 
Goes, by George W. Frasier, Helen Dol- 
man, and Kathryne Van Noy; also, read- 
ings on page 300. 


LEADING THOUGHT The caterpillars of 
the swallowtail butterflies have scent 
organs near the head which they thrust 
forth when attacked, thus giving off a dis- 
agreeable odor which is nauseating to 

METHOD In September, bring into 
the schoolroom and place in the terrarium, 
or breeding cage, a caraway or parsley 
plant on which these caterpillars are feed- 
ing, giving them fresh food day by day, 
and allow the pupils to observe them at 
recess and thus complete the lesson. 


OBSERVATIONS i. Touch the caterpil- 
lar on the head with a bit of grass. What 
does it do? What color are the horns? 
Where do they come from? Are there two 
separate horns or two branches of one 
horn? What odor comes from these 
horns? How does this protect the caterpil- 

lar? Does the caterpillar try to hide under 
the leaves when feeding? 

2. Describe the caterpillar as follows: 
What is its shape? Is it larger toward the 
head or the rear end? What is its ground 
color? How is it striped? How many 
black stripes? How many yellow spots in 
each black stripe? Are the yellow spots in 
the middle, or at each edge of the stripe? 

3. How do the front three pairs of legs 
look? How do they compare with the pro- 
legs? How many prop-legs are there? 
What is the color of the prolegs? How are 
they marked? Describe the prop-leg. What 
is its use? 

4. Observe the caterpillar eating a leaf. 
How does it manage so as not to waste 

5. Have you found the egg from which 
the caterpillar came? What color is it? 
Where is it laid? 

6. How does the young caterpillar look? 
What are its colors? How many fleshy 
spines has it on each segment? Aie these 
white on the white segments and black on 
the black segments? What is the color 
of the spines at their base? 

7. Watch one of these caterpillars shed 
its skin. How does it prepare for this? How 
does it spin its carpet? Where does the 
silk come from? Describe how it acts when 
shedding its skin. 

At the top is a caterpillar oj the black swal- 
lowtail butterfly ready to change to the chrys- 
alis form. Below is shown a chrysalis of the 
black swallowtail butterfly 



A tiger swallowtail butterfly visiting a lily 

8. When a caterpillar is full grown, how 
does it hang itself up to change to a 
chrysalis? How does it make the silk but- 
ton? How does it weave the loop or hal- 
ter? How does it fasten it? When the hal- 
ter is woven what does the caterpillar do 
with it? Describe how the last caterpillar 
skin is shed. How does the insect use its 
loop or halter while getting free from the 
molted skin? 

9. Describe the chrysalis. What is its 
general shape? What is its color? Is it 
easily seen? Can you see where the wings 
are, within the chrysalis? How is the chrys- 
alis supported? 

10. How does the chrysalis look when 
the butterfly is about to emerge? Where 
does it break open? How does the butterfly 
look at first? 

1 . Why is this butterfly called the black 
swallowtail? What is the ground color of 
the wings? How many rows of yellow 
spots on the front wings? Are they all the 
same shape? How are they arranged be- 
tween each two veins? Describe the hind 
wings. What colors are on them that are 
not on the front wings? Describe where 
this color is placed. Describe the eyespot 
on the hind wing. Where is it? How do 
the markings on the lower side of the wing 
differ from those above? How does the 
ground color differ from the upper side? 

2. What is the color of the body of the 
butterfly? Has it any marks? Has it the 
same number of legs as the monarch but- 
terfly? Describe its antennaa. Watch the 
butterfly getting nectar from the petunia 
blossom and describe the tongue. Where 
is the tongue when not in use? 

3. How does the mother butterfly dif- 
fer in size and in markings from her mate? 

The " caraway worms " were the ones 
that revealed to us the mystery of the pupa 
and butterfly. We saw one climb up the 
side of a house, and watched it as with 
many slow, graceful movements of the 
head it wove for itself the loop of silk 
which we called the " swing " and which 
held it in place after it changed to a chrys- 
alis. We wondered why such a brilliant 
caterpillar should change to such a dull- 
colored object, almost the color of the 
clapboard against which it hung. Then, 
one day, we found a damp, crumpled, 
black butterfly hanging to the empty 
chrysalis skin, its wings " all mussed " as 
we termed it; and we gazed at it pityingly; 
but even as we gazed, the crumpled wings 
expanded and then there came to our 
childish minds a dim realization of the 
miracle wrought within that little, dingy, 
empty shell. 




Migrating monarch butterflies 

American Museum of Natural History 


It is a great advantage to an insect to 
have the bird problem eliminated, and 
the monarch butterfly enjoys this ad- 
vantage to the utmost. Its method of 
flight proclaims it, for it drifts about in a 
lazy ? leisurely manner, its glowing red 
making it like a gleaming jewel in the air ? 
a very different flight indeed from the zig- 
zag dodging movements of other butter- 
flies. The monarch has an interesting race 
history. It is a native of tropic America, 
and has probably learned through some 
race instinct that by following its food 
plant north with the opening season, it 
gains immunity from special enemies 
other than birds, which attack it in some 
stage in its native haunts. Each mother 
butterfly follows the spring northward as 

it advances, as far as she finds the milk- 
weed sprouted. There she deposits her 
eggs, from which hatch individuals that 
carry on the migration as far to the north 
as possible. It usually arrives in New York 
State early in July. As cold weather ap- 
proaches, the monarchs often gather in 
large flocks and move back to the South. 
How they find their way we cannot un- 
derstand, since there are among them 
none of the individuals which pressed 
northward early in the season. 

The very brilliant copper-red color of 
the upper sides of the wings of the mon- 
arch is made even more brilliant by the 
contrasting black markings which outline 
the veins and border the wings, and also 
cover the tips of the front wings with a 


The monarch butterfly 

triangular patch; this latter seems to be 
an especially planned background for 
showing off the pale orange and white 
dots set within it. There are white dots 
set, two pairs in two rows, between each 
two veins in the black margin of the 
wings; and the fringe at the edge of the 
wings shows corresponding white mark- 
ings. The hind wings and the front por- 
tions of the front wings have, on their 
lower sides, a ground color of pale yel- 
low, which makes the insect less con- 
spicuous when it alights and folds its 
wings above its back, upper surfaces to- 
gether. The black veins, on the lower sur- 
face of the hind wings, are outlined with 
white, and the white spots are much larger 
than on the upper surface. The body is 
black, ornamented with a few pairs of 
white spots above and with many large 
white dots below. The chief distinguish- 
ing characteristic of insects is the presence 
of six legs; but in this butterfly the front 
legs are so small that they scarcely look 
like legs. 

It is easy to observe the long, coiled 
tongue of the butterfly. If the act is done 

gently, the tongue may be uncoiled by 
lifting it out with a pin. It is very inter- 
esting to see a butterfly feeding upon 
nectar; this may be observed in the 
garden almost any day. I have also ob- 
served it indoors, by bringing in petu- 
nias and nasturtiums for my imprisoned 
butterflies, but they are not so likely to 
eat when in confinement. The antennae 
are about two-thirds as long as the body 
and each ends in a long knob; this knob, 
in some form, is what distinguishes the 
antenna of the butterflies from those of 
moths. The male monarch has a black 
spot upon one of the veins of the hind 
wing; this is a perfume pocket and is filled 
with what are called scent scales. These 
are scales of peculiar shape which cover 
the wing at this place and give forth an 
odor which we with our coarse sense of 
smell cannot perceive; but the lady mon- 
arch is attracted by this odor. The male 
monarch may be described to the children 
as a dandy carrying a perfume pocket to 
attract his sweetheart. 

It is very interesting to the pupils if they 
are able to see a bit of the butterfly's wing 
through a lens or microscope; the cover- 
ing of scales, arranged in such perfect 

The viceroy butterfly. Note the black band 
on the hind wings. This band distinguishes 
the viceroy from the monarch, which it re- 
sembles in color and markings 


rows, is very beautiful and also very won- 
derful. The children know that they get 
dust upon their fingers from butterflies' 
wings, and they should know that each 
grain of this dust is an exquisite scale with 
notched edges and a ribbed surface. 

The monarch is, for some reason un- 
known to us, distasteful to birds, and its 
brilliant colors are an advertisement to all 
birds of discretion that here is an insect 
which tastes most disagreeable and which, 
therefore, should be left severely alone. 
There is another butterfly called the vice- 
roy which has taken advantage of this im- 
munity from bird attack on the part of 
the monarch and has imitated its colors 
in a truly remarkable way, differing from it 
only in being smaller in size and having a 
black band across the middle of the hind 

The milkweed caterpillar, which is the 
young of the monarch butterfly, is a strik- 
ing object, and when fully grown is about 
two inches long. The milkweed is a suc- 
culent food and the caterpillar may ma- 
ture in eleven days; it is a gay creature, 
with ground color of green and cross 
stripes of yellow and black. On top of the 
second segment, back of the head, are two 
long, slender, whiplash-like organs, and on 
the seventh segment of the abdomen is a 
similar pair. When the caterpillar is fright- 
ened, the whiplashes at the front of the 
body twitch excitedly; when it walks, they 

The scales on a butterfly's wing as seen 
through a microscope 

move back and forth. Those at the rear of 
the body are more quiet and not so expres- 
sive of caterpillar emotions. These fila- 
ments are undoubtedly of use in frighten- 

M. V. Slingerland 

The monarch caterpillar 

ing away the little parasitic flies that lay 
their eggs upon the backs of caterpillars; 
these eggs hatch into little grubs that feed 
upon the internal fatty portions of the 
caterpillar and bring about its death 
through weakness. I remember well when 
I was a child, the creepy feeling with 
which I beheld these black- and yellow- 
ringed caterpillars waving and lashing 
their whips back and forth after I had dis- 
turbed them; if the ichneumon flies were 
as frightened as I, the caterpillars were 
surely safe. 

The caterpillar will feed upon no plant 
except milkweed; it feeds both day and 
night, with intervals of rest, and when 
resting hides beneath the leaf. Its striking 
colors undoubtedly defend it from birds, 
because it is as distasteful to them as is the 
butterfly. However, when frightened, 
these caterpillars fall to the ground where 
their stripes make them very inconspicu- 
ous among the grass and thus perhaps save 
them from the attack of some animals 
other than birds. These caterpillars, like 
all others, grow by shedding the skeleton 
skin as often as it becomes too tight. 

The monarch chrysalis is, I maintain, 



the most beautiful gem in Nature's jewel 
casket; it is an oblong jewel of jade, 
darker at the upper end and shading to 

Monarch chrysalis. A jewel of 

ing jade and 

the most exquisite whitish green below; 
outlining this lower paler portion are shin- 
ing flecks of gold. If we look at these gold 
flecks with a lens, we cannot but believe 
that they are bits of polished gold foil. 
There may be other gold dots also, and 
outlining the apex of the jewel is a band 
of gold with a dotted lower edge of jet; 
and the knob at the top, to which the silk 
which suspends the chrysalis is fastened, 
is also jet. The chrysalis changes to a 
darker blue-green after two days, and 
black dots appear in the gold garniture. As 
this chrysalis is usually hung to the 
underside of a fence rail or overhanging 
rock, or to a leaf, it is usually surrounded 
by green vegetation, so that its green color 
protects it from prying eyes. Yet it is 
hardly from birds that it hides; perhaps its 
little gilt buttons are a hint to birds that 
this jewel is not palatable. As it nears the 
time for the butterfly to emerge, the 
chrysalis changes to a duller and darker 
hue. The butterfly emerges about twelve 
days after the change to a chrysalis. 

Moth Book, by Ellen Robertson-Miller; 
Do You Know? by Janet Smalley; How to 
Know the Butterflies, by John Henry 
Comstock and Anna B. Comstock; Inter- 
esting Neighbors, by Oliver P. Jenkins; 
Now for Creatures, by Shelby Shackelf ord; 

Scientific Living Series, Winter Comes 
and Goes, by George W. Frasier, Helen 
Dolman, and Kathryne Van Noy; also, 
readings on page 300. 


LEADING THOUGHT The monarch but- 
terfly migrates northward in spring and 
summer, moving up as the milkweed ap- 
pears, so as to give food to its caterpillar; 
and it has often been noticed migrating 
back southward in the autumn in large 
swarms. This insect is distasteful to birds 
in all its stages. Its chrysalis is one of the 
most beautiful objects in all nature. 

METHOD This lesson may be given in 
September, while yet the caterpillars of 
the monarch may be found feeding upon 
milkweed, and while there are yet many 
specimens of this gorgeous butterfly to be 
seen. The caterpillars may be brought in 
on the food plant, and their habits and 
performances studied in the schoolroom; 
but care should be taken not to have the 
atmosphere too dry. 

L. W. Brownell 

Monarch butterfly emerging from the chrysa- 


OBSERVATIONS i. How can you tell 
the monarch butterfly from all others? 
What part of the wings is red? What por- 
tions are black? What portions are white? 
What are the colors and markings on the 
lower side of the wings? What is the color 
of the body and how is it ornamented? 

2. Is the flight of the monarch rapid, 
or slow and leisurely? Is it a very showy 
insect when flying? Are its colors more 
brilliant in the sunshine when it is flying 
than at any other time? Why is it not 
afraid of birds? 

3. When the butterfly alights, how 
does it hold its wings? Do you think it is 
as conspicuous when its wings are folded 
as when they are open? 

4. Can you see the butterfly's tongue? 
Describe the antennas. How do they differ 
from the antennse of moths? How many 
legs has this butterfly? Flow does this dif- 
fer from other insects? Note if you can see 
any indications of front legs. 

5. Is there on the butterfly you are 
studying a black spot near one of the 
veins on each hind wing? Do you know 
what this is? What is it for? 

6. Why are the striking colors of this 
butterfly a great advantage to it? Do you 
know of any other butterfly which imi- 
tates it and thus gains an advantage? 


1. Where did you find the monarch 
caterpillar? Was it feeding below or above 
on the leaves? Describe how it eats the 
milkweed leaf. 

2. What are the colors and the mark- 
ings of the caterpillar? Do you think these 
make it conspicuous? 

3. How many whiplash-shaped fila- 
ments do you find on the caterpillar? On 
which segments are they situated? Do 
these move when the caterpillar walks or 
when it is disturbed? Of what use are they 
to the caterpillar? 

4. Do you think this caterpillar would 
feed upon anything except milkweed? 
Does it rest, when not feeding, upon the 
upper or the lower surface of the leaves? 

Above, a monarch butterfly ; below, a vice- 
roy. In color and markings, except for t he- 
black bands on the hind wings of the viceroy, 
they are similar 

Does it feed during the night as well as the 

5. If disturbed, what does the caterpil- 
lar do? When it falls down among the 
grass, how do its cross stripes protect it 
from observation? 

6. Tell all the interesting things which 
you have seen this caterpillar do. 


1. When the caterpillar gets ready to 
change to a chrysalis what does it do? How 
does it hang up? Describe how it sheds its 

2. Describe the chrysalis. What is its 
color? How and where is it ornamented? 
Can you see, in the chrysalis, those parts 
which cover the wings of the future but- 

3. To what is the chrysalis attached? Is 
it in a position where it does not attract 
attention? How is it attached to the ob- 

4. After three or four days, how does the 
chrysalis change in color? Observe, if you 
can, the butterfly come out from the chrys- 
alis, noting the following points: Where 
does the chrysalis skin open? How does 
the butterfly look when it first comes out? 



How does it act for the first two or three 
hours? How does the empty chrysalis skin 


Far out at sea - the sun was high, 

While veered the wind and flapped the 


We saw a snow- white butterfly 
Dancing before the fitful gale 
Far out at sea. 

The little wanderer, who had lost 
His way, of danger nothing inew; 

Settled a while upon the mast; 

Then fluttered o'er the waters blue 
Far out at sea. 

Above, there gleamed the boundless sky; 

Beneath, the boundless ocean sheen; 
Between them danced the butterfly, 

The spirit-life of this fair scene, 
Far out at sea. 

The tiny soul that soared away, 

Seeking the clouds on fragile wings, 
Lured by the brighter, purer ray 

Which hope's ecstatic mornino- 

Far out at sea. 

Away he sped, with shimmering glee, 
Scarce seen, now lost, yet onward borne/ 

Night comes with wind and rain, and he 
No more will dance before the morn, 
Far out at sea. 

He dies, unlike his mates, I ween, 

Perhaps not sooner or worse crossed; 
And he hath felt and known and seen 
A larger life and hope, though lost 
Far out at sea. 

- R. H. HORNE 


Brown and furry, 
Caterpillar in a hurry, 
Take your walk 
To the shady leaf or stalk, 
Or what not, 

Many times during autumn, the chil- 
dren find and bring in the very noticeable 
caterpillar which they call the " woolly 
bear/' It seems to them a companion of 
the road and the sunshine; it usually seems 
in a hurry, and if the children know that 
it is hastening to secure some safe place 
in which to hide during the season of cold 
and snow, they are far more interested in 
its future fate. If the caterpillar is already 
curled up for the winter, it will " come 
to " if warmed in the hand or in the sun- 

The woolly bear is variable in appear- 
ance; sometimes five of the front segments 
are black, four of the middle reddish 
brown, and three of the hind segments 
black. In others only four front segments 
are black, six are reddish, and two are 
black at the end of the body; there are still 

Which may be the chosen spot; 

No toad spy you, 

Hovering bird of prey pass by you; 

Spin and die, 

To live again a butterfly. 


other variations, so that each individual 
will tell its own story of color. There are 
really thirteen segments in this caterpillar, 
not counting the head; but the last two 
are so joined that probably the children 
will count only twelve. There are a regular 
number of tubercles on each side of each 
segment, and from each of these arises a 
little rosette of hairs; but the tubercles 
are packed so closely together, that it is 
difficult for the children to see how many 
rosettes there are on each side. While the 
body of the caterpillar looks as if it were 
covered with evenly clipped fur, there are 
usually a few longer hairs on the rear 

There is a pair of true legs on each of 
the three front segments which form 
the thorax, and there are four pairs of 
prolegs. All of the segments behind the 


front three belong to the abdomen, and 
the prolegs are on the 3rd, 4th, Jth, and 
6th abdominal segments; the prop-leg is 
at the rear end of the body. The true legs 
of this caterpillar have little claws, and 
are as shining as if encased in patent 
leather; but the prolegs and prop-leg are 
merely prolongations of the sides of the 
body to assist the insect in holding to 
the leaf. The yellow spot on either side 
of the first segment is a spiracle; this is 
an opening leading into the air tubes 
within the body, around which the blood 
flows and is thus purified. There are no 
spiracles on the second and third seg- 
ments of the thorax, but eight of the 
abdominal segments have a spiracle on 
either side. 

The woolly bear's head is polished black; 
its antennae are two tiny, yellow projec- 
tions which can easily be seen with the 
naked eye. The eyes are too small to be 
thus seen; because of its minute eyes, the 
woolly bear cannot see very far and, there- 
fore, it is obliged to feel its way. It does 
this by stretching out the front end of 
the body and reaching in every direction, 
to observe if there is anything to cling to 
in its neighborhood. When we try to 
seize the woolly bear it rolls up in a little 
ball, and the hairs are so elastic that w r e 
take it up with great difficulty. These 

Woolly bears 

M. V. Slingerland 

hairs are a protection from the attacks of 
birds which do not like bristles for food; 
and when the caterpillar is safely rolled 
up, the bird sees only a little bundle of 
bristles and lets it alone. The woolly bear 
feeds upon many plants : grass, clover, dan- 
delion, and others. It does not eat very 
much after we find it in autumn, because 
its growth is completed. The woolly bear 
should be kept in a box which should be 
placed out of doors, so that it may be pro- 
tected from storms but have the ordinary 
winter temperature. Keeping it in a warm 
room during the winter often proves fatal. 

M. V. Slingerland 

The Isabella tiger moths, the adults of the 
woolly bear. The larger is the jemale 

M. V. Slingerland 

The cocoon oj the woolly bear 

Normally, the woolly bear does not 
make its cocoon until April or May. It 
finds some secluded spot in the fall, and 
there curls up in safety for the long win- 
ter nap; when the warm weather comes in 
the spring, it makes its cocoon by spinning 
silk about itself; in this silk are woven 
the hairs which it sheds easily at that 
time, and the whole cocoon seems made 
of felt. It seems amazing that such a large 
caterpillar can sipin about itself and 

3 12 


squeeze itself into such a small cocoon; 
and it is quite as amazing to see within the 
cocoon the smooth little pupa, in which is 
condensed all that was essential of the 
caterpillar. Sometimes when the cater- 
pillars are kept in a warm room they make 
their cocoons in the fall, but this is not 

The issuing of the moth from the co- 
coon is an interesting lesson for the last of 
May. The size of the moth which comes 
from the cocoon seems quite miraculous 
compared with the size of the caterpillar 
that went into it. The moth is in color 
dull, grayish, tawny yellow with a few 
black dots on the wings; sometimes the 
hind wings are tinted with dull orange- 
red. On the middle of the back of the 
moth's body there is a row of six black 
dots; and on each side of the body is a 
similar row. The legs are reddish above 
and tipped with black. The antennae are 
small and inconspicuous. The moths are 
night fliers, and the mother moth seeks 
some plant that will be suitable food for 
the little caterpillar as soon as it is 
hatched; here she lays her eggs. 

by Janet Smalley; Nature by Seaside and 
Wayside, by Mary G. Phillips and Julia 
M. Wright, Book 3, Plants and Animals; 
also, readings on page 300. 



LEADING THOUGHT When we see the 
woolly bear hurrying along in the fall, it 
is hunting for some cozy place in which to 
pass the winter. It makes its cocoon, usu- 
ally in early spring, of silk woven with its 
own hair. In late spring, it comes forth 
a yellowish moth with black dots on its 

METHOD Have the children bring in 
woolly bears as they find them; place them 
in boxes or breeding jars which have grass 
or clover growing in them. The children 
can handle the caterpillars while they are 
studying them, and then they should be 
put back into the breeding jars and be set 

out of doors where they can have natural 
conditions; thus the entire history may 
be studied. 


OBSERVATIONS i . How can you tell 
the woolly bear from all other caterpillars? 
Are they all colored alike? How many seg- 
ments of the body are black at the front 
end? How many are red? How many seg- 
ments are black at the rear end of the 
body? How many segments does this make 
in all? 

2. Look closely at the hairs of the 
woolly bear. Are they set separately or in 
rosettes? Are any of the hairs of the body 
longer than others or are they all even? 

3. Can you see, just back of the head, 
the true legs with their little sharp claws? 
How many are there? 

4. Can you see the fleshy legs along the 
sides of the body? How many are there 
of these? 

5. Can you see the prop-leg, or the 
hindmost leg of all? Of what use to the 
caterpillar are these fleshy legs? 

6. Describe the woolly bear's head. 
How does it act when eating? 

7. Can you see a small, bright yellow 
spot on each side of the segment just 
behind the head? What do you suppose 
this is? Can you see little openings along 
each side of all the segments of the body, 
except the second and third? What are 
they? Describe how the woolly bear 

8. On what does the woolly bear feed? 
If you can find a little woolly bear, give 
it fresh grass to eat and see how it grows. 
Why does it shed its skin? 

9. When the woolly bear is hurrying 
along, does it lift its head and the front 
end of its body now and then? Why does 
it do this? Do you think it can see far? 

10. What does the woolly bear do 
when you try to pick it up? Do you find 
you can pick it up easily? Do you think 
that these stiff hairs protect the woolly 
bear from its enemies? What are its ene- 

11. Where should the woolly bear be 
kept in winter to make it comfortable? 




1. When does the woolly bear usually 
make its cocoon? 

2. Of what material is it made? How 
does the woolly bear get into its cocoon? 

3. What happens to it inside the co- 

4. Cut open a cocoon and describe how 
the woolly bear looks now. 


1. Where did the moth come from? 

2. How did it come out of the cocoon? 
See if you can find the empty pupa case 
in the cocoon. 

3. What is the color of the moth and 
how is it marked? Are the front and hind 
wings the same color? 

4. What are the markings and colors of 
the body? Of the legs? 

5. What do you think that the mother 
Isabella will do, if you give her liberty? 

The mute insect fixt upon the plant 
On whose soft leaves it hangs, and from 

whose cup 

Drains imperceptibly its nourishment. 
Endeared my wanderings. 


Before your sight, 

Mounts on the breeze the butterfly, and 

Small creature as she is ? from earth's bright 

Into the dewy clouds. 



The silkworm which gives us the silk 
of commerce has been domesticated for 
centuries in China. Because of this do- 
mestication, it is willing to be handled 
and is reared successfully in captivity, and 
has thus come to be the source of most of 
our silken fabrics. However, we have in 
America native silkworms which produce 
a strong and lustrous silk; but the cater- 
pillars have proved difficult to rear in large 
numbers. Moreover, it would take years to 
domesticate them, and the amount of la- 
bor involved in the production of their 
silk would be so great that they are un- 
likely, for many years at least, to be of 
commercial importance. 

The names of our common native silk- 
worms are cecropia, promethea, polyphe- 
mus, and luna. In all of these species the 
moths are large and beautiful, attracting 
the attention of everyone who sees them. 
The caterpillars are rarely found, since 
their varied green colors render them in- 
conspicuous among the leaves on which 
they feed. None of the caterpillars of the 
giant silkworms occur in sufficient num- 
bers to injure the foliage of our trees to 
any extent; they simply help Nature to 

do a little needful pruning. All of the 
moths are night flyers and are, therefore, 
seldom seen except by those who are in- 

M. V. Slingerland 
The cecropia moth 

terested in the visitors to our street lights. 

The cecropia is the largest of our giant 
silkworms, the wings of the moth expand- 
ing sometimes six and one-half inches. It 
occurs from the Atlantic Coast to the 
Rocky Mountains. 

The cecropia cocoon is found most 
abundantly on our orchard and shade 
trees; it is called by the children the 



M. V. Slingerland 

The eggs of the cecropia moth, enlarged 

"cradle cocoon/' since it is shaped like 
a hammock and hung close below a 
branch, and it is a very safe shelter for 
the help